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Full text of "St. Olave's"

BK 




L I B R.AR.Y 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY 

OF ILLINOIS 

8,2.3 

St3fcs 

v.3 



ST. OLAVE'S 



VOL. III. 



( 



ST. L AYE'S. 



Live for to-day ! to-morrow's light 
To-morrow's cares shall bring to sight, 
Go, sleep like closing flowers at night, 
And Heaven thy morn will bless." 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. III. 



LONDON : 
HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS, 

SUCCESSORS TO HENRY COLBURN. 
18, GREAT MARLBOKOUGH 8TEBET. 

1863. 

The right of Translation is reserved. 



DALZIEL. BROTHERS, CAMDEN PKESS, LONDON. 



&X3 

v. 3 



ST. OLAVE'S. 



CHAPTER I. 



TWSS-. 



HHE Festival was over. The spring- 
tide of excitement rolled slowly back, 
only a bit of tangled drift here and 
there betokening how high it had risen. The 
morning after the triumphant performance of 
" JaeL," a detachment of charwomen took posses- 
sion of the Hall of Guild and restored it to pristine 
neatness. They swept away the withered bouquets 
with which the orchestra was strewed ; they tore 
down the evergreen wreaths which decorated the 
gallery front — reserving a few leaves, perhaps, for 
the flavouring of custards — and swathed the 
statuary in white canvas shrouds until they looked 
like so many uncoffined corpses waiting for the 
rites of burial. 

vol. III. B 



2 ST. OLAVE S. 

Any one going down the streets of St. Olave's 
a week after the last great day of the Festival, 
would not have suspected that anything remarkable 
had occurred in the place. Except the newly- 
painted houses — and even these were beginning 
to lose their freshness — nothing remained to tell 
the story of departed splendour. The bristling 
rainbow-tinted brocades, the flounced silks, the 
zephyry muslins, disappeared from the High Street 
shops, and their places were supplied by bales of 
huckaback towelling, or webs of linen, stout and 
strong for family use. Careful housekeepers put 
their best china away for a three years' nap, locked 
up the seldom-used linen which had been put 
into requisition for chance lodgers, and betook 
themselves to the reckoning of their profits. 

The Westwood people, too, went back to the old 
track. 

There is a supreme moment in every human life ; 
a grand crisis of suffering, which comes once 
and no more, a fateful conflict, in which the whole 
nerve and vigour of our being is put to the test, 
wherein, for awhile, we struggle madly, ineffectu- 
ally; then, blinded, baffled, overwhelmed, lie down 
and say, " Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do ? n 



ST. olave's. 3 

After this there comes to us a new life. The open 
vision is granted, the scales fall from our eyes ; 
hand in hand with God, companied by angels, 
guarded by the unseen presence of spiritual minis- 
trants, the rest of the way is travelled. 

To such a crisis as this, David Bruce had come, 
and the scar of it staid with him all through life. 
To him, though, came the rest ; the open vision 
was given, and room made for him in the grand 
company of those who have become perfect through 
suffering. After that terrible night all went on 
quietly as ever at Westwood, none but Janet know- 
ing the great struggle which had been over-past. 

The relationship between David and Janet Bruce 
was a singular one. It showed how two human 
souls may dwell together in calm, quiet, unchanging 
friendliness, yet without the slightest interpenetra- 
tion — always touching but never mingling. There 
is a chemistry of mind as well as of matter. Like 
rushes towards like in the world of spirit. Some 
minds may touch for years — for a lifetime — but 
parting at last each is as perfect and self- existent 
as the different coloured grains of sand that have 
been tossing together side by side for centuries on 
the ocean shore. Others, by some sort of heavenly 

b2 



4 ST. OLAVE 8. 

alchemy, blend at once and for ever. No time 
nor chance can sunder them, nor even death itself 
break, except for a little season, the eternal bond 
that girds them. David and Janet were, or, 
through the education of circumstances, had 
become, types of two natures, which, though they 
may blend in perfect tenderness and charity, can 
never interpenetrate each other. 

But in this great sorrow that had come upon 
him, Janet clung to David Bruce with grave, sweet 
sisterliness ; and though, after that bitter night in 
which one single lightning flash of emotion revealed 
the great deep that lay beneath, no word of 
sympathy was ever spoken between them, though 
over all the past there lay the veil of sacred, un- 
broken silence, still the thousand little tendernesses 
of home life were exchanged more reverently ; and 
if they lacked communion of thought, the commu- 
nion of kind deeds never failed. Little by little, 
when the first bewilderment of the blow had passed 
away, outward life for those two became again 
almost what it used to be — like one of those clear, 
deep, rock-girt mountain tarns, which sleep on 
dark and calm alike beneath July sunshine or the 
rack and storm of winter. 



Janet thought her brother might forget. Fame, 
success,, hard work, the new interests that added 
social position gathered round him — these she 
hoped would scatter away the ashes of the old love 
and leave the altar of his heart empty again, if not 
for new flames to kindle there, at least for the 
steady glow of home peace to burn on unquenched. 
So that, although for both of them the brightness 
of life had been dimmed, some of its quietness 
might still remain, and by-and-by more than a 
little of its peace. 

But she misunderstood him. St. Olave's could 
be no home to David Bruce so long as Alice Grey 
was there. Whilst in his sorrow there was no 
sting of wounded pride, no bitterness of the chafed 
vanity over which little natures fret and worry, 
still it was hard to weary through day after day 
of a life, from which all the sunlight had died 
out ; to toil through old accustomed duties that 
had no longer any spring or freshness in them ; to 
remember only, where once he had hoped. And 
so when a week or two after the St. Olave's Festival, 
there came an invitation for him to go over and 
conduct his Oratorio at the approaching grand 
Musical Commemoration of Munich, he accepted 



6 st. olave's. 

it. From Munich he determined to go to Berlin, 
Leipsic, Cologne, and then to Italy and Switzer- 
land, not returning to England until autumn, when 
St. Olave's would be Alice Grey's home no longer. 
He thought, if his present success con- 
tinued, of leaving Westwood entirely and going 
back to Scotland. He knew, though Janet never 
said so, her heart was with the heather and the 
biue-bell still. A few months' hard work at his 
profession would enable him to reclaim the Court 
House from the stranger hands into which it had 
fallen. Then he might give back to his sister their 
old home with all its memories and belongings ; 
and whilst he devoted himself more completely 
than ever to his life work, that solitary year at St. 
Olave's, with its brilliant lights and blasting sha- 
dows, might be quietly laid away. 

Not forgotten. God forbid that any true man 
should ever forget, or wish to forget, the love 
which, though it has left him nothing but sorrow, 
was once sent by God to bind its golden tendrils 
round his soul and lift him nearer heaven. 

Alice could never be forgotten. Lost, parted 
from him by a gulf wider far than death, still her 
name could never die out from his heart, nor be 



ST. OLAVE S. 7 

in it other than a thought of purity and tender- 
ness. 

So David Bruce's coronation-day passed away, 
giving him, besides the laurel wreath of glory, that 
other and sometimes nobler crown of thorns which 
is never wanting in the regalia of God's royal 
children. He wore it very calmly, and the world, 
looking only at the shining leaves above, never 
knew that it was there. 

Many a one, with beating heart and kindling 
eye, sets off in life's bright morning time to 
climb the mountain-top of some lofty purpose or 
great hope, thinking from its height to gain vast 
outlooks of delight. But even whilst he climbs, 
the shadows of evening fall, and when at last he 
gains the summit, there lies all round and above 
him nothing but the darkness of night, through 
which one by one the holy stars come out and 
shine. Yet let him not turn back in utter hope- 
lessness. Better far that he should wait patiently 
for the sun that shall rise ere long. For the 
morning comes to us all, even as the night does. 




CHAPTER II. 

|AYID BRUCE could not put the Ger- 
man Ocean between him and the old 
life so speedily as he wished. A few 
days after the Festival, he resigned his post as 
organist of St. Olave's, greatly to the concern of 
the Dean and Chapter, who were building much 
on the eclat their Cathedral services would win 
from the superintendence of so distinguished a 
musician. His engagement was binding, however, 
for a year, and there wanted several weeks yet to 
the expiration of this term of agreement. So 
morning after morning, while the choir was 
thronged with strangers who came from all parts 
to hear his wonderful music, Mr. Bruce still took 



ST. olave's. 9 

his accustomed place in the little oaken carved 
organ-pew which Alice's presence had consecrated 
evermore. And as he turned over the musty old 
manuscripts and brown worm-eaten folios of 
chants, there came before him her sweet girl face 
with its upward look of reverence and wonder; 
just as he remembered it months and months ago 
in the sunshine of that early July morning. 

But they never met. He looked seldom, and 
only by chance, into Mistress Amiel Grey's cur- 
tained pew, and took care never to quit his place 
u ntil the last lingering listener had left the choir. 
Often after service was over he would pace the 
long echoing galleries for hours together, gathering 
up thoughts for new music, or reading over page 
after page of old cathedral anthems whose grand 
harmonies were to him what books are to the 
learned. And so he tried to lull for a little while 
the memories that would not sleep. 

At home he was tender and kind as ever. No 
one in that little household was chilled by 
any shadow which had come over his sunshine. 
None found his words less friendly, or missed in 
his presence the charm of the old strong protecting 
faithfulness. Only weak natures are marred and 



10 ST. olave's. 

maimed by sorrow. Disappointment is to a noble 
soul what cold water is to burning metal; it 
strengthens,, tempers, intensifies, but never de- 
stroys. He was still the home-stay, the true-hearted 
brother, the gentle master, the trusty friend. 
And day by day the home at Westwood, utterly 
shorn as it was of happiness or joy, became more 
and more sheltered by deepening peace, the balm 
which sinless sorrow always leaves. Janet had 
won that peace long ago ; over David's heart it 
was rising too ; and even Mrs. Edenall, out of sor- 
row not sinless but conquered, now seemed to be 
slowly passing into rest. 

David Bruce would scarcely have left his sister 
but for the great change that had come over 
Mrs. Edenall. She wearied them no longer by 
her restless, excited ways. The mainspring of 
passion seemed to have run itself down at last, and 
the emotional part of her nature lay still. She 
was quiet, docile as a child. Silent as ever 
though, and speaking no word of the great deep 
past, with all its possible grief and guilt ; but it 
was only the silence of penitence now, not of pride. 
One could scarcely have known her for the same, 
but that, at rare intervals, there flashed forth from 



11 

her eyes a gleam of the old wild light, showing 
that far away down, the volcanic intensity of her 
nature was still smouldering, and might once 
more break forth again. 

Janet offered no opposition to her brother's de- 
parture. Her meek patient face just grew a shade 
paler when he told her, a few days after the 
Festival, what he had determined to do. 

" I shall be sair vexed to lose you, brother 
Davie," she said, in their old tender-hearted 
country speech, to which even yet Mrs. Edenall 
always listened with a sort of reverent sadness, 
" but I'll no keep ye back; " and then with one 
close hand- clasp she stole away from him, to bear 
her sorrow as best she might, alone. 

Janet was very self-forgetting. Sacrifice had 
long ago become, not the accident but the rule of 
her life. All that she had to give was given to 
this brother of hers, and all of pain that the 
giving compelled, was borne in silence. Weary 
as any future without him must be, she was glad, 
and even thankful, for a change which might sever 
the present from the past, and set him in the 
midst of a new life, unblemished by the haunting 
remembrances that could never be quite blotted 



12 ST. olave's. 

out from Westwood. And so, when the crush 
and excitement of the Festival had passed 
away, instead of settling down to the years of 
unbroken home peace to which she had once 
looked, she bravely gathered together her brother's 
belongings, and prepared for a parting that 
might last through both their lives. 

Alice waited day by day, wondering that Mr. 
Bruce never came to the Old Lodge. Perhaps 
six months ago her impatience might have over- 
stepped the limits of St. Olave's etiquette, and 
setting its maxims at defiance she might have 
gone to Westwood on her own account. But 
under the able tuition of Mrs. Archdeacon 
Scrymgeour, Alice had taken on a little of the 
Close family tone. There was gathering round 
her a slight crust of hauteur, the commencement 
of that social petrifaction, which any one living 
long enough beneath the droppmg-well of St. 
Olave's conventions, could not fail to experience. 

The Archdeacon's widow saw this, and rejoiced 
in it. It was, to her, the earnest of that serene 
self-possession and full rounded dignity which 
would sit so well on the future Bishop's lady. And 
as little by little she noted how the young figure 



ST. olave's. 13 

drew itself up with more queenly grace, and the 
girlish head learned to wear its coronet of brown 
curls with more of womanly pride, she congratu- 
lated herself on the rare penetration Cuthbert had 
evinced by selecting a partner in whom beauty, 
breeding, birth and fortune were so admirably 
united. 

And so the time wore on. Shortly after his 
return from Brighton, Mr. Scrymgeour was 
presented to the living of Grassthorpe, a little 
village about five miles from St. Olave's, and for 
the last month Mrs. Scrymgeour had been flitting 
backwards and forwards from Chapter Court to her 
nephew's Rectory, superintending workmen, pur- 
chasing furniture, unpacking plate, linen, and 
china, and initiating Cuthbert into the art of in- 
dependent housekeeping. 

She was very anxious now to expedite his 
marriage. True, the income of the Rectory was 
only two hundred, rather a small share for a 
gentleman to contribute whose bride was to bring 
him a dowry of fifty thousand at the least. But 
Cuthbert was not proud, at least he had not that 
pride which keeps a man from living on his wife's 
money, and enjoying it too. He would give her 



14 ST. olave's. 

position, and she would supply the means of sus- 
taining that position ; a very fair exchange, as 
Mrs. Scrymgeour decided, and we hope no one 
will question the perfect justice of the decision. 

Besides, she had other reasons for pushing on 
the match. Alice was growing very charming. 
Her unformed nursery ways once worn off 
by contact with society, she had ripened into 
an elegant and fascinating woman, the object 
of much admiration — sometimes more than admi- 
ration. A swarm of butterfly cavaliers hovered 
about her wherever she went, some attracted by 
her beauty, some by her graceful manners, all by 
her wealth ; and the sooner Cuthbert caged his 
pet-bird the better. Alice was only young, not 
very stable, quite open to the delicate compliments 
of men who knew how to offer them as elegantly 
as Mr. Scrymgeour himself. Mrs. Scrymgeour 
had discrimination enough to see that Alice's love 
for Cuthbert was not of that quiet, deep, over- 
mastering sort which scorns rivalry, and holds 
faithful even to the death. She was very fond of 
him, and just lived on his caresses, and so long 
as no one pleased her fancy better, she would 
cling to him ; but would it be safer to have the 
thing settled ? — very much safer. 



ST. olave's. 15 

The only obstruction was Mistress Amiel Grey 
and Miss Luckie had learned to adapt herself so skil- 
fully to the old lady's needs, that there was no 
longer any pressing necessity for Alice to sacrifice 
her prospects to home duties. Aunt Amiel still 
lived on in that unconscious soul slumber which had 
come over her five months ago. No gleam of 
returning intelligence had ever broken through 
it. Dr. Greenwood told them she might live for 
years and years before the great and final change 
came, or it might overtake her at any moment. 
At all events, there was not the remotest possibility 
of her ever recovering so far as to perceive any 
alteration that might be made in the arrange- 
ments of the household, or to suffer from the 
absence of her niece. 

Alice's loving care had removed all traces of 
sickness from the cheerful little room where Aunt 
Amiel passed the chief part of her time. She 
would not even have any change made in the dress 
or appearance of her aunt that might suggest ill- 
health. Mrs. Grey still wore the loose robe of soft, 
glossy, black satin, and kerchief of clear starched 
muslin, which used to be her costume when she 
was able to move about. Morning by morning, 



16 

Alice used to smooth down the silvery hair under 
the old-fashioned widow's cap, and adjust the 
cambric ruffles over the white hands that clasped 
each other so patiently. One might have 
thought, to see Aunt Amiel reclining in her large 
crimson-cushioned couch chair, that she had but 
fallen into some pleasant reverie — that by-and-by 
the hands would drop from their peaceful clasp, 
and the eyes lose that dim vacant look, and the 
set, never changing smile fade back again into an 
ordinary work-a-day expression. 

And, indeed, the waking was near, much nearer 
than any of them thought. 



CHAPTER III. 



[AWAVffg HE time was towards the end of April. 

fflESSi ^bere bad been sunshine for several 
— ■srsr~| jj| days, and the lilac buds in the Lodge 
garden, eager to escape from their long wintry 
prison, had burst forth into a flush of dainty green. 
But the Close elm trees, sturdy old veterans who 
knew by experience how surely April sunshine is 
followed by April frost, still kept their leafy trea- 
sures under watch and ward, only putting out here 
and there a tiny little bud, which contrasted 
brightly enough with their gnarled and rugged 
black trunks. 

Alice sat by the oriel window alone, for Miss 
Luckie had got a week's reprieve from household 

VOL. HI. C 



'* 



18 st. olave's. 

duties to visit some friends at a distance. But the 
young girl's thoughts were far enough away from 
the garden or its greenery. Her head was bent 
down over a piece of work she held in her hand, 
and smiles came and went like gleams of sunshine 
upon her face. The work told its own story. It 
was a pair of clergyman's bands., of the finest 
silkiest cambric. Cuthbert Scrymgeour was to 
wear them when he preached his first sermon at 
Grassthorpe on the next Sunday. He had promised 
to come over very early in the morning, and drive 
Alice and Mrs. Scrymgeour out to the rectory for 
the day. 

It was Alice's first visit to her future home, and 
many were the wondering thoughts that thronged 
over her as she pictured what it would be like. 
But no thought of the duties that belonged to her 
life, no prayer for strength to do them, mingled 
with the gushing smile that as she worked 
grew deeper on her face. She neared the portals 
of coming womanhood as most young women do, 
thinking only of the flowers which hang upon its 
threshold, never of the beaten track, very unflowery 
often, that stretches out beyond. She had a 
dim, misty sort of notion about clothing clubs and 



19 

flannel petticoats, as in some way connected with 
the more prominent responsibilities of the female 
pastorate ; and behind these loomed others qnite as 
misty, touching the preparation of jelly and broth. 
These had been suggested to her by a little manual, 
very excellent in its way, entitled, " Hints to the 
Wives of Clergymen," which Mrs. Scrymgeour 
had given to her with a great deal of sound and 
judicious advice soon after her engagement to 
Cuthbert. Alice blushed down to her finger ends 
when the book was presented, and as soon as she 
had the chance, darted away to her own room to 
dip into its contents. 

One chapter treated of sick visitation and the 
making of jelly. Alice's education in both these 
branches had been considerably neglected, and 
feeling that she was quite incompetent to undertake 
the duties of a pastor's wife until she could make 
tempting dishes for ill people, she determined to 
set to work at once. She put her curls behind her 
ears, tied a coquettish little pink apron over her 
silk dress, and went to consult with Simmons, who 
generously placed the still-room and its contents at 
her disposal. The result was, that after slopping 
away nearly half a bottle of sherry and using up a 

c 2 



20 st. olave's. 

whole packet of the best isinglass, the bewitching 
young amateur was fain to retire from the con- 
test ; the pink apron found its way, in a somewhat 
advanced stage of stickiness, to the wash-tub, and 
the jelly was consigned to a receptacle for miscel- 
laneous odds and ends. So ended Alice's curricu- 
lum in the culinary department ; but she consoled 
herself by a vague idea that when matrimonial 
duties did come to her share, a capacity for their 
fulfilment would somehow be vouchsafed. 

She was still sitting there at the oriel window 
— not working though, for her hands were crossed 
upon her lap and her eyelids bent down until their 
long lashes just skimmed her rosy cheeks — 
when the door opened and Mrs. Cromarty 
came in. 

" Miss Alice." 

But that waking dream was too pleasant for 
words so low spoken as Mrs. Cromarty's to dis- 
turb it. She came slowly across the long room 
and laid her hand on Alice's shoulder. 

" Miss Alice, I think you'll need to come with 
me. There's a change upon the mistress." 

There was no tremor in the voice, its tones were 
very calm and low. Alice started, but not with 



st. olave's. 21 

fear. Unconsciously holding the work in her 
fingers, and with that pleasant smile still lingering 
on her lips, she followed Mrs. Cromarty up the 
wide oaken staircase to Mrs. Grey's room. 

Aunt AmiePs face was deadly pale ; the hands, 
so long motionless, twitched nervously at the 
crimson wrap which was thrown round her; her 
eyes had lost their placid, vacant gaze, and wan- 
dered restlessly round. Alice dropped her 
work and sprang across the room to her aunt's 
side. 

" Oh, Aunt Amiel, what is it ? Do you want 
anything ; can I help you ?" 

No answer, but only that searching bewildered 
gaze. By-and-by the features became fear- 
fully distorted, and the whole frame quivered as if 
convulsed. Alice could not bear the sight, and 
crouching on the floor, hid her face in the folds of 
Aunt AmieFs dress. Poor child, she knew little 
as yet of suffering or death. 

" It was that warned me first," said Mrs. Cro- 
marty, who stood by the couch, supporting her 
mistress with one arm, whilst the other was held 
round the half-fainting girl. (( I've sent for Dr. 
Greenwood, Miss Alice ; he'll soon be here, and 



22 st. olave's. 

then, please God, he'll be able to do something to 
ease her." 

He came, but was powerless to help them in 
that time of need. He prescribed a few simple 
alleviations, and then — very gently, for he feared 
alarming Alice — told them that the end had come, 
that a few hours more or less was all of life that 
remained to Mistress Amiel Grey. Alice, stunned 
and bewildered, scarcely seemed to hear his words, 
certainly she did not heed them. As Dr. Green- 
wood was leaving the room he beckoned to Mrs. 
Cromarty to follow him. 

" You have been in Mrs. Grey's service some 
time, and know more of her affairs perhaps than 
Miss Alice. Has she any friends who are em- 
powered to act as guardians to her niece — relatives, 
you understand ?" 

<e I can't say, Sir, for certain. Mistress was 
always shy of speaking about Miss Alice, but I've 
heard her say as much as that she meant to 
leave her the property; and indeed you know, 
Sir, there's none nearer kin to her than Miss 
Alice." 

" That is what I wished to know. Frequently 
in cases of this kind the faculties revive for a short 



23 

time before death, and it is important that in case 
Mrs. Grey should be able to converse intelligibly, 
her friends may be at hand to receive any instruc- 
tions respecting her niece." 

Mrs. Cromarty thought awhile. 

" The Mistress has overlived most of her people, 
Sir, and I never heard her speak of no kith or 
kin, let alone a cousin who serves with the army 
in foreign parts. He's a captain, Sir, I don't re- 
collect his name, but now that you mention it I 
do remember her saying afore she was took with 
the stroke, that he would be back again soon." 

"Miss Grey has no brothers, I suppose, no 
parents who can act for her." 

" Not as I know on. She came here a baby a 
bit after I engaged housekeeper to the Mis- 
tress, and I never heard no word of nobody 
belonging to her that I can tell of. Mistress 
Grey was shy, very, about her relations, but I take 
it she's a orphan !" 

"Most likely. Of course Mrs. Grey's affairs 
will be properly settled; she was always a 
woman of method and prudence. The Scrymgeours 
should be informed of this attack." 

" I've sent to 'em, Sir." 



24 

"Then all lias been done that can be done. I 
will come again in an hour." 

Mrs. Cromartv came back. She threw a light 
silk handkerchief over Mrs. Grey's face, that when 
Alice looked again she might not be startled by 
the fearful contortions which from time to time 
passed over it. 

"What does Mr. Greenwood say, Mrs. Cro- 
marty?" 

" The end's nigh at hand, darling. It's the 
Master's will, and we can't go agen it. Let us 
ask Him to send her a peaceful rest, for it's hard 
struggling with her now." 

Mrs. Cromarty knelt and prayed. Many a 
time her prayers had companied departing souls 
to heaven's gate and fallen like a benediction on 
the lonely watchers who were left behind. But 
the dying one heard them not now. The last 
death struggle had seized her. She sprang for- 
ward with a convulsive start, and the handkerchief 
fell from her face, revealing its features cramped 
and contorted as if in violent agony. Then the 
spasm passed away, and she fell back again upon 
the couch, breathing heavily and at long in- 
tervals. 



st. olave's. 25 

Alice still knelt by her. It was pitiable to see 
her helpless sorrow. For one moment, in that 
death throe, she caught a glimpse of her aunt's 
face. Its memory staid with her to her dying- 
day. Then amidst the tumult and distraction of 
her thoughts, came the remembrance of him 
whose name, though it might be forgotten in time 
of joy, rose always as a presence of comfort in time 
of need, and she sobbed out : — 

" Send for Mr. "Bruce." 

So they sent for him. Cuthbert Scrymgeour 
was no favourite of Mrs. Cromarty's. With the 
clairvoyance of a purely simple and religious 
nature, she pierced through the outer wrappings 
of elegance and refinement to the deep of selfish- 
ness which lay beneath. She was glad for him 
not to be there, glad that in this deep sorrow 
Alice's thoughts should turn to David Bruce for 
rest and solace. 

Lettice was despatched to the Cathedral to 
meet him, as he came out from afternoon sendee. 
She took her place by the little door which led 
to the organ stair, and then remembering that 
he often staid behind and played after the choris- 
ters had dispersed, she went up into his pew. He 



,26 st. olave's. 

was just accompanying the versiclcs that follow 
the Creed. He did not notice her; amateur 
musicians used often to come into the organ pew 
whilst the service was going on, and then steal 
quietly out again, without speaking to him. 
When the last response was finished, she went 
up to him. He was standing to make some 
alteration in the organ stops, and did not see her 
until she was close upon him. 

" Please sir, Mistress Amiel Grey is dying, and 
Miss Alice has sent for you." 

David Bruce staggered, as if a sudden blow 
had come upon him ; the place seemed to reel 
round and round, and he clutched nervously at 
the low projecting bosses of the oaken work to 
keep himself from falling. Ah ! people may 
talk of forgetting, but for some men memory 
never dies. Lettice's words showed him how 
slight as yet was the little film of quiet which 
had gathered over his life. He could answer not 
a word. 

"Yes, sir/' said Lettice, seeing the look 
of pain upon his face, "she was took for 
death about half- an -hour ago, and seems to suffer 
awful. Poor Miss Alice is dreadful scared, she's 



never been used to see illness, and she's got no 
one to look to but you, for Miss Luckie is 
away, and the folks from Chapter Court is all out 
at Grassthorpe." 

That name gave David strength to speak. 

" Tell Miss Grey I will come ; and stay, 
Lettice, perhaps you had better go on to West- 
wood ; my sister might be of use." 

That was all he said, and it was spoken in a 
short, quick, abrupt way, with the harsh, rasping 
tone of one who speaks in great suffering. 
Not a word of sympathy or sorrow, not even a 
single question. 

" Laws what a quiet man ! w said Lettice to 
herself, as she threaded her way down the narrow 
stair." I never seed such a quiet man in all my 
life. He don't look to have got no feelings in 
him at all. He ain't half so sweet as the gentle- 
man young missis is going to get." 

When she had gone, David pressed his hands 
tightly over his face for a moment or two. Then 
he locked the organ, and leaving the choristers to 
perform the remainder of the Amens on their 
own responsibility, he stole away down the 
silent nave, darkening now in the April twilight, 



28 ST. OLAVE's. 

and across the Close to the secluded garden of the 
Old Lodge. He had never entered it since that 
evening nine months ago, when he stood beneath 
the window listening to Alice Grey, as she played 
the solo music of ' ( Jael." But there was no time to 
think of that now. Mrs. Cromarty met him at 
the door. There were tears glistening in her 
dark deep eyes, and womanly tenderness, the 
tenderness which can both sustain and sympathize, 
softened the lines of her rugged face. 

". Fm glad you're come, sir. She's wearied 
sadly for you. I don't mean Mistress Amiel 
Grey, but poor Miss Alice. She's just done 
nothing but moan, when will Mr. Bruce come ? 
since I sent Lettice. Him as ought to comfort 
her is away, but if he was here, I don't think he'd 
be much hand. It's only them as has met sorrow 
theirselves, sir, as can teach others to bear it. 
This way, please." 

She left him in the doorway of the room where 
Mistress Amiel Grey lay. Alice was kneeling by 
her aunt's side, her head resting wearily on the 
cushions, her whole figure sunk into the abandon- 
ment of hopelessness. 

At the sight of her. pale and suffering, a rush 



29 

of tenderness almost overpowered David Bruce. 
His first impulse was to spring forward and take 
her to her own place, his faithful, unchanging 
heart. And well would it have been for Alice 
could he have done so. But before the impulse 
had time to shape itself into action, his eye fell 
upon her piece of work, the cambric bands which 
she had dropped on the carpet. They spoke of 
all that lay between him and Alice Grey. He 
was himself again, calm, quiet, self-possessed. 
But he could not be cold. Alice had done him 
no wrong, even though she had shadowed all his 
life. There can be no bitterness in a true and 
noble heart. He went up to her and took in 
his own the hand that hung down so listlessly. 

C( Alice, you sent for me. I have come." 

She turned and nestled her cold white cheek to 
his shoulder as he stooped over her; there was 
rest in his presence. She kept his hand held fast 
in hers, as though the veiy touch brought comfort, 
and for long they stood together, keeping 
silent watch over the dying. 

" Alice ?" 

The young girl started, and bent eagerly 
forward. It was the voice, the kind, well-remem- 



30 

bered voice, hushed so long. The angel of death 
had come, but, ere he bid the soul away, he 
suffered it to look once more through the window 
of its earthly tenement. 

"Alice, my little Alice; my little child that 
came to me so long ago." 

The suffering had all passed away. Aunt 
AmiePs face was still, quite still, and an answer- 
ing glance of affection, deep, yearning, unchang- 
ing affection, repaid Alice's fond kiss. 

Just then the Cathedral bells began to ring. It 
was Wednesday, the practising evening. Very 
harshly their clangour smote upon the stillness and 
peace of that room. As she caught the sound of 
them, Aunt Amiel looked perplexed, then pained ; 
then, as if taking up the train of thought which 
had been upon her mind ere it fell into that long 
slumber, she said, quite clearly and distinctly — 

et Those are the bells of Brandon Church. They 
must not ring, it was not a legal marriage. 
Douglas Ramsay knew it was not a proper mar- 
riage, he deceived her ; poor Marian." 

David set his lips together, and a mingled look 
of anger and sorrow came into his face, but he 
said nothing. Mrs. Grey paused, then began 
again — 



31 

" My poor child, why did tliey send her away ? 
Tell the bells to stop ringing. Is that Mr 
Ramsay ? Will he take care of her ? The bells, 
the bells, stop ringing " 

She leaned back as if qnite exhausted. 

"What is she saying, Alice?" asked David 
Bruce. 

" I believe she is wandering. Just before the 
stroke came she was saying something about bells 
ringing, it must be the same thought working in 
her mind now." 

David went out to speak to Mrs. Cromarty, who 
was in the next room, and presently the bells 
ceased. One of the ringers remained behind 
though. There was no need for merry peals that 
night, but a dirge would be wanted ere long, and 
he stayed to toll it. 

A messenger had been despatched to Grass- 
thorpe, but ere he arrived, that other messenger, 
who loiters never on any errand of his, reached the 
Old Lodge. Aunt Amiel died very calmly. She 
spoke no more after those few wandering 
sentences. By-and-by a look of strange, startled 
awe passed over her face; she opened her eyes, 
bright as with glory shining down upon them, then 



32 

there were a few shortening breaths, and all was 
over. 

" Aunt Amiel ! oh, Aunt Amiel !" sobbed Alice, 
but there was neither voice nor answer, only the 
steadfast calm of death sealing the pale features. 

She tried to lift herself up, and then fell weep - 
ing into David Brace's arms. He held her there 
quietly for awhile, then half led, half carried her 
to the oriel room, and laid her upon the sofa. 
There he would have left her, but she clung to 
him. 

" Stay, Mr. Bruce, do stay. I have no one but 
you, don't leave me," and she clasped his hands 
tightly in hers. 

It was a sad thing to do, but he stayed. 

Sitting down by her, he soothed her with good 
words, kind words, tender, brotherly words, that 
had never come near the fire at his heart. Listen- 
ing to them, Alice grew still. She drooped her 
head upon his arm, and, presently, spent with 
excitement and grief, fell into a troubled sleep, her 
hand still clinging to his. 

They were together thus, when his sister came 
into the room. Janet started, she had not thought 
to find them so, but one look at the stern, almost 



33 

awful fixedness of David Bruce's face, told her the 
truth. No content was there, but only the calm of 
desperate endurance. He called her; his voice 
sounded so strange. 

" Janet, come here." 

She came. 

u Take my place, sister, it is no place for me. 
Stay with her, she is very lonely. They — the 
people from Grassthorpe have not come." 

He drew his hand from Alice's clasp, and Janet 
placed hers there. Just then the tramp of 
horses' feet was heard upon the gravel sweep of the 
Close, and soon Cuthbert Scrymgeour's rich mu- 
sical tones rang through the hall. With one long, 
wistful, yearning look at Alice, which Janet, bend- 
ing over her, did not notice, David Bruce left the 
Old Lodge, never to enter it any more. 

Three days later he was on his way to Munich. 



VOL. III. 



34 



CHAPTER IV. 



||J ISTEESS Amiel Grey was buried 
with great state and solemnity. The 
Archdeacon's widow, who charged 
herself with the ordering of the proceedings, deter 
mined that everything should comport with the 
high position of the deceased. The great Cathedral 
bell tolled at intervals throughout the day, the 
blinds of the grey, grim-looking old houses were 
drawn as the procession wound slowly through 
the Close, and by order of the Dean a 
special funeral service was performed at the 
Cathedral. The cortege, though made as imposing 
as possible, was of necessity small. Mrs. Grey 
had outlived nearly all her own family, and for the 



ST. olave's. 3 

last few years, since Alice grew up into girlhood, 
she had kept herself in such strict seclusion that 
most of her friends had lost sight of her. 

Cuthbert Scrymgeour acted as chief mourner, 
thus confirming the report which had been afloat 
for some time concerning his engagement to Alice. 
After this, it was understood as a matter of course, 
and commented upon accordingly. 

Mistress Amiel Grey had left no will, at least 
none could be found. Shortly before her seizure 
she sent for the solicitor who usually transacted 
her business, but he was from home at the time, 
and when he returned she was unable to attend to 
the disposition of her affairs. Neither was any- 
one appointed to act in behalf of Alice until she 
came of age. 

Mrs. Grey's only surviving relative was an 
elderly gentleman of high position, who had been 
for the last twenty years serving with his regiment 
in India. The families had never held any inter- 
course with each other, and it was by the merest 
accident that Miss Luckie, a few weeks before, 
had seen in the "Times" a notice of the embarkation 
of Captain Clay's regiment for England. It was 
to land in July. Until then, Mrs. Scrymgeour 

i) 2 



36 

decided that Alice should remain at the Old 
Lodge, under the guardianship of Miss Luckie 
Immediately upon Captain Clay's return, pecuniary 
matters could be arranged, settlements made, 
trustees appointed, and then the long-wished 
for marriage solemnized with such splendour as 
was consistent with the circumstances. She had 
even determined in her own mind the arrange- 
ment of matters at the Old Lodge after the 
wedding ; which servants were to be retained, 
which dismissed ; what articles of furniture 
removed to Grassthorpe and what disposed of. 
She and Cuthbert had also agreed between them- 
selves that the Old Lodge should be let for a few 
years, until he obtained minor Cathedral prefer- 
ment, when it would make a convenient home for 
them previous to going into the Residence, which 
was at present the ante-penultimate stage of Mrs. 
Scrymgeour's ecclesiastical ambition. 

Alice got over the shock of her aunt's death 
much better than anyone expected. Hers was 
one of those slender, fragile natures, which though 
they bend to every passing breeze of sorrow, soon 
regain their elasticity. As yet the real depths of 
her being had never been stirred ; she had 



ST. OLAVE S. 



neither enjoyed nor suffered with her whole soul. 
And indeed, when the first shock of Mrs. Grey's 
death was over, the change in the household was 
not very apparent. Miss Luckie continued her 
post of comptroller - general, Mrs. Cromarty 
remained as under-housekeeper, the whole estab- 
lishment was kept up in the old style, not one of 
the servants being dismissed, or any new 
arrangements introduced. 

As the warm weather drew on, Lettice and 
Colin were sent to Norlands to prepare the cottage 
for summer visits. Alice loved the country, and now 
that no one claimed her presence at the Old 
Lodge, she began to spend much of her time 
there. Occasionally too, her betrothed, with the 
Archdeacon's widow to play propriety, would 
drive over for the evening, or she beguiled Miss 
Bruce away from the quiet little Westwood home 
to ramble with her to the Norlands tower, and 
follow the windings of the ravine up to the Lynne 
waterfall, a couple of miles away. Here they 
would sit for hours together, talking — it was 
always Alice who began the conversation — about 
David Bruce. Sometimes Janet used to read her 
one of his letters, describing continental life and 



38 



ST. OLAVE S. 



manners, or she would bring some of the musical 
journals, and show Alice the notices of David 
Bruce the " distinguished Scottish composer " as 
he was called, and Alice listened with shy, 
wondering delight to his praise. But Janet 
passed over the pages where he spoke of dreariness 
and longing, of the memories which no change 
could lull, of the loneliness which all the world's 
praise could not break, but only strengthen. 

Since that sorrowful night of Aunt Amiel's 
death, when Alice waking in the oriel room, met 
Miss Brace's patient face bending over her, the 
two had been drawn closer together. Janet some- 
times unconsciously shrunk from her friends in 
their prosperity, but if need of any kind overtook 
them, her heart unburdened all its wealth of 
tender loving-kindness. So as the year wore on, 
and spring evenings lengthened out, Alice came 
often to Westwood, not indeed bringing with her 
now, as once she did, the sunshine of unclouded 
gladness, yet somehow brightening that quiet 
household with a certain balmy cheerfulness 
which seemed to shrine her round wherever she 
went. 

Mrs. Edenall scarcely ever joined in their con- 



st. olave's. 39 

versations. Since the time of the Festival she had 
been gradually drooping. Her regal queenlike 
bearing was quite gone. When sometimes she 
slowly paced up and down the room, her tall 
figure bent and swayed like a reed. But she never 
complained. She would own to neither, ache nor 
pain. Dr. Greenwood was consulted. He said it 
was simply a depressed state of the nervous system, 
arising from excitement or over- anxiety, and re- 
commended change of air. 

Leamington was suggested : Madeira; the South 
of France; but Mrs. Edenall with a touch of her 
old iron-strong firmness refused to go away. 

" If I must die," she said, " I will die here at 
St. Olave's. I will leave you if you wish it, but 
not the old city. And Janet, when I do die, let 
them bury me near the tower at Norlands, you 
once told me it was a churchyard. I could lie 
very quietly there." 

So she staid with them, for Janet was not the 
one to let a stranger pass from her threshold to 
die. 

Mrs. Edenall did not suffer much. It seemed 
as if God, having sent peace to the poor weary 
spirit, were very gently loosening it from a world 



40 ST. olave's. 

in which it had been so worn and tempest- tossed. 
Often Janet would gaze upon her face until its 
strange beauty almost melted her to tears. 
It had such a wan patient look now, strangely 
like that other face over which she had seen her 
brother bending on Mistress Amiel Grey's death 
night. 

Ever since she heard of Mrs. Grey's death, Mrs. 
Edenall had been very tender towards Alice Grey. 
As she lay on the sofa during the long half- dark 
evenings of Spring, she used silently to take the 
young girl's hand in hers and hold it for hours to- 
gether, sometimes caressing it as it lay like a snow- 
flake on her black dress. 

They were together there one evening in early 
May ; Janet had left them for half-an-hour whilst 
she went to see a poor person in the neighbourhood. 
It was not a very brilliant conversational opportu- 
nity. Just a stray word or two now and again 
they spoke, and then in the long intervals of silence 
watched how the grey evening fell and the shadows 
of firelight grew stronger in the little room. 

Alice had drawn a foot-stool close up to the sofa 
and was leaning her head upon Mrs. EdenalPs 
breast. The child had such pretty caressing ways ; 



st. olave's. 41 

people who rarely betrayed any outward show of 
tenderness, used unconsciously to fondle her. She 
was a pleasant contrast to those violently self-sus- 
tained young ladies whom you would as soon 
think of caressing as of putting your arms round 
the neck of a cast-iron pillar and giving it a loving 
kiss. She never seemed quite content unless she 
was nestling close up to some one, and finding a 
resting-place for her little fingers in some friendly 
clasp. 

" Alice," said Mrs. Edenall, as she stroked the 
soft curls that lay upon her dress, " you have such 
pretty hair. I noticed it the first time I ever saw 
you." 

" Yes," and a bright flush flitted over Alice's 
face. 

" Cuth — people generally tell me it is very nice. 
Mr. Bruce said once that those little bits peeping 
out under your comb were just the same colour." 

" Did he ? Ah we 11, a long time ago I used to 
glory in my hair too. It was all like this," and 
Mrs. Edenall drew out one of the little golden 
brown tendrils which remained of her bygone 
treasures. Alice took hold of it and wound it over 
her fingers. As she did so, a strange shiver passed 



42 st. olave's. 

over her. She dropped it and began to 
smooth down the grey bands that shaded Mrs. 
Edenall's forehead. 

" Did you have a great trouble, Mrs. Edenall, to 
make your hair go like that ?" 

" Yes, my child/' — once or twice Mrs. Edenall 
had called Alice " my child." " I have had much 
trouble in my life, more I trust than ever you will 
have." 

Their eyes met, with a wistful, searching, inter- 
communing gaze. Alice's, innocent and guileless, 
Mrs. Edenall's, heavy with long past memories, 
perhaps of sorrow, perhaps of sin. Alice was 
the first to break the after silence that fell between 
them. 

" Miss Bruce told me once, that suffering was 
not so very bad if only we didn't do wrong too ; 
and you know 1 think she has had a great deal of 
suffering." 

Mrs. Edenall turned her head wearily away, and 
hid her face in the cushion to hide the tears which 
would force their way through the shut eyelids- 
Alice leaning upon her, felt a quiver run through 
the whole frame. 

"Oh, Mrs. Edenall, are you ill?" 



st. olave's. -43 

" No Alice, not ill, but my head aches very 
much." 

" Give me your handkerchief and I will get you 
some Eau de Cologne. Janet has some that Mr. 
Bruce brought from London. I know it will do 
you good." 

Without waiting for a reply, she took up the 
little embroidered handkerchief which lay on the 
sofa, and ran away upstairs; presently she re- 
turned, laying it cool and damp and fragrant on 
Mrs. Edenall J s heated forehead. As she did so, 
she noticed the device in the corner. It was a 
shield, embroidered in satin stitch, with a motto, 
and beneath, the name, " Marian Brandon." Alice 
read it out loud. 

" Marian Brandon. Was that your name, Mrs. 
Edenall, before you were married?" 

Mrs. Edenall lifted her hand quickly as though 
to seize the handkerchief away, then dropped it 
again. It mattered little now. The end was very 
near ; a few weeks more and her maiden name, 
with all the shame she had brought upon it, would 
be forgotten for ever. 

" Yes, my name was Marian Brandon. It is 
a good name." And as she said the words, some- 



44 

thing like a flash, of pride lighted up her paleface 
but only for a moment. 

" Brandon, Brandon/' said Alice, " surely I 
have heard that name before. Ah ! I remember, 
poor Aunt Amiel said something about Brandon 
church just before she died. But you know she 
was wandering, because directly after that she 
said something else about a little child, and some 
marriage that was not legal. Then her voice 
failed, and in a little while she died." 

Alice paused for some time, trying to keep back 
the tears that came with the thought of that 
evening. 

" Did you know my Aunt Amiel ?" she said, by- 
and-by. 

There was no answer. She asked the question 
again. But Mrs. Edenall had fainted. 



45 





IM 


i 







CHAPTER V. 

LICE had as little notion of the ma- 
nagement of fainting-fits as of the 
responsibilities of the female pastorate. 
Bnt she did in her ignorance the best thing that 
could have been done. She ran out into the gar- 
den to seek Tibbie, leaving both parlour and hall 
doors wide open. The rush of cool air sweeping 
into the room revived Mrs. Edenall, and as Alice 
came back bringing Tibbie, she opened her eyes 
with a long, dreamy look of returning conscious- 
ness. 

" It's just a dwamm/' said Tibbie, pouring out 
a glass of cold water from the little ewer that 
stood on the window-seat. "Puir leddie, she's 



46 st. olave's. 

terrible frail the noo. Just sit by her and crack 
tull her a wee. Miss Alice, while the Mistress 
comes hame, and she'll no be lang." 

Tibbie trotted back into the garden to finish 
weeding the lettuces. Mrs. Edenall did not seem 
inclined to talk any more ; she just turned her face 
away, breathing heavily, as if in pain. In a few 
minutes Janet returned, and then Alice went 
home. 

As soon as Mrs. Edenall was left alone, she 
took the handkerchief from her forehead and 
dropped it upon the fire. She watched it until 
every thread was consumed. The thick embroid- 
ery stitch in which the device was worked, with- 
stood the flames longest, and for some seconds 
after the rest was crumbled to ash, the letters 
forming the name of Brandon smouldered upon 
the red embers. At last, letter by letter they 
shrivelled and fell into the flame, and then Mrs. 
Edenall stirred the fire together that no vestige of 
the ashes might remain. 

The next morning Alice came again, partly to 
inquire after Mrs. Edenall, and partly to tell them 
of a pleasant plan which had formed itself in her 
kind little heart. She could scarcely wait to get 



si. olave's. 47 

through the customary greetings before she began 
to tell them about it. 

" Janet/' she said, " I have been thinking how 
nice it would be if you and Mrs. Edenall would 
come and stop at Norlands for a month or two. 
Just now the country looks so pretty, and I am 
sure it would do Mrs. Edenall a world of good to 
get away from here. You know Westwood is low 
rather. Do come, will you V 

But Janet did not answer directly. A good 
many domestic contingencies had to be taken into 
consideration. Alice went on, pressing her suit 
more earnestly. That she was sincere, her bright 
smile and eager look told plainly enough. 

" You were saying you remember, not very long 
ago, that Tibbie wanted to go into Scotland, but 
you could not spare her away. Now she can go 
whilst you come to Norlands, and Lettice shall 
come down here now and then to see that the 
house is all right. Now, you will come, I'm 
sure." 

Janet smiled. She did not wonder how those 
frank, girlish ways, that bright look, those soft 
guileless tones had sunk far down into her bro- 
ther's heart. Truly Alice Grey was made to be 



48 

loved, as flowers are made to bathe their fragrant 
cups in sunshine and dew. 

" I would like fine to come to Norlands, Alice ; 
it is a bonnie nook, and minds me of my own 
country. But I must not leave Mrs. Edenall, you 
know, and I am afraid she will be loth to move. I 
will go and ask her, though." 

Mrs. Edenall came in. To Janet's surprise, she 
accepted the invitation at once. She even seemed 
eager to go, and the thought of it brought a faint 
tinge of colour to her sunken cheeks. How dif- 
ferent from the cold, haughty indifference with 
which, little more than six months ago, she had 
dropped her last invitation to Norlands. 

Alice was all animation and eagerness. She 
would not leave until the arrangements were com- 
pleted, and that day week fixed as the time for 
their visit to begin. And if matters could not be 
settled for Tibbie to get away into Scotland so 
soon, she was to come to Norlands too, and shut 
up the Westwood house altogether. 

Alice's frank kindness had done them much 
good. Something of cheerfulness and even of 
bright anticipation came over them both as they 
prepared to leave their quiet, sombre little cottage, 



49 

for the home in which such a hearty welcome 
waited them. Ah, had they known that Norlands 
held a grave for one of them, and that the living 
one should leave her all of earthly hope and long- 
ing there, how different it would have been ! 

Spring deepened into summer. There came 
evening skies of purple, and floods of yellow sun- 
light rolled over the wold hills, deepening as the 
day declined into crimson and grey. Janet and 
Mrs. Edenall had been at Norlands nearly six 
weeks. The wild hyacinths were blooming up in 
the orchard path when they went, the hedges 
were whitened over with snowflakes of scented 
hawthorn, and every passing breeze showered down 
upon the cottage garden a windfall of tiny little 
sycamore buds, or the feathery rose-tipped blossoms 
of the horse -chesnut. But now it was summer time, 
the weary, dusty summer, when flowers begin to look 
like gay ball dresses that have been over long worn, 
and thirsty leaves pant and flutter in the hot air. 

As yet, no time was fixed for their departure. 
Janet often mentioned the subject, but Alice would 
never listen, and pressed them week after week to 
stay a little longer. The change was doing Mrs. Eden- 

VOL. III. E 



50 st. olave's. 

all much good. She scarcely seemed like the same 
woman who had come there so wan and worn and 
weary in the early spring time. Her step was 
firmer now, and with that had come back her 
erect queenly bearing. She could walk for hours 
together without failing ; indeed sometimes she 
would spend the entire day in sauntering about 
the old tower and tracking out the different paths 
which led to it. Perhaps it might be that health 
would come back to her after all, and that the fu- 
ture might redeem the past, whatever that past had 
been. For with returning health there returned 
none of the old pride. The light that shone through 
her eyes was quiet, like lamps gleaming from cathe- 
dral windows while hymns are chanted within. 
It seemed as if the wild fierce flames of those 
long ago memories were burning themselves out 
at last, and a new life, pure and holy, rising from 
their ashes. 

The bond between her and Janet Bruce was a 
strange one. Each knew that the other had 
jaiown great sorrow, a sorrow whose scar could 
never be healed or forgotten ; but what that sorrow 
was, when and how it had come, was as yet untold. 
All through their long intercourse the past had 



ST. olave's. 5 1 

been left untouched. They had never seen each 
other heart to heart. They were like two blind 
people walking the same road, holding each other's 
hands, listening to each other's voices, but never 
able to look into each other's eyes with that con- 
scious communing glance wherein the whole soul 
reveals itself. 

Alice often came to Norlands whilst they were 
there. She was very fond of bringing her bits of 
embroidery work, and making believe to be won- 
derfully industrious, as she sat by Janet's side in 
the little front room or on the rustic seat undei 
the elm tree. For awhile she would stitch away 
diligently enough, but long before a single leaf or 
bud was finished, the work dropped from her 
fingers, she would lay her head down in Janet's 
lap and begin to murmur out her innocent day 
dreams of happiness, looking up now and then for 
an answering smile, which Janet gave kindly, 
though not without a certain bitter feeling at her 
heart for the absent brother whose life these 
dreams had crossed. 

David Bruce wrote no word yet about coming 
home. He had conducted his Oratorio with great 
success at Munich, Leipsic, Berlin and Cologne. 

£ 2 

UBRMtt 



ST^OF- 



52 st. olave's. 

His name stood side by side with those of the first 
musicians on the continent, and wealth seemed 
likely to follow in the wake of fame. He was in 
Italy now, visiting some of the great musical cities 
there. After spending some time in Rome and 
Venice, he intended to go to Switzerland and then 
return to Germany, where he would remain perhaps 
until far into the winter. 

Alice's wedding was fixed to take place in 
August, as soon as possible after Captain Clay's 
return. Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour had the 
entire management of it, and she found xVlice a 
most docile bride-elect. On account of the short 
time which had elapsed since Aunt AmiePs death, 
the wedding could not be so magnificent as Mrs. 
Scrymgeour wished; still everything was to 
be in first-rate style, as befitted the nuptials 
of two distinguished members of the Close families. 

Alice had fixed upon her wedding dress, white 
glace with trimmings of tulle and green frosted 
leaves. The bridesmaids, six in number, were to 
be in white tarlatan with violet sprigs, and wreaths 
to match. The ceremony w r as to be performed in 
St. Olave's Chapel of Ease by the Dean, and the 
bride given away by Dr. Hewlett, the present 



53 

Canon-in- Residence. The young couple had not 
yet decided where to spend their honeymoon. Mrs. 
Scrymgeour leaned to Rome, as being distingue, 
and suitable to ecclesiastical anions, but at that 
time of the year malaria stood in the way. Cuth- 
bert would have enjoyed a spell of Paris pomp and 
gaiety, and Alice longed to spend the first bright 
days of her wedded life amidst the heathery 
mountains and ferny dells of Scotland. 

"You know, Janet," she said, during one 
of these sunshiny summer afternoon talks, " I 
don't want gaiety or anything of that sort, but just 
to be quietly happy. And ever since you came 
here I have wanted to see those beautiful places 
you talk to me about. I should like to saunter 
over the Perth Inches and climb the hills of Kin- 
noul, and look for the shady lanes where the blue- 
bells grow, that you and Mr Bruce used to gather 
when you were children. Would not that be 
pleasanter now than Rome or Paris V s 

Janet toyed mechanically with the curls that 
lay in her lap, and answered with half a sigh, half 
a smile. The smile was for Alice, the sigh for 
herself. 

" And then, you know, we might go to the top 



54 

of one of those great purple mountains ; and I 
should ride on a little Shetland pony, and Cuth- 
bert would hold the bridle, and we would have 
such pleasant talks. Oh, Janet, I hope we may 
go to Scotland ! " And then the picture got too 
beautiful for words, and Alice finished it in a 
waking dream. 

So the time wore on, until the middle of July. 
It was a sultry summer afternoon. The hay- 
makers ceased their work and rested under the 
spreading trees, or beneath the blackberry hedges 
that grew so thick all round the Norlands meadows. 
Alice was spending the day at Chapter Court, with 
Cuthbert, who had come over from Grassthorpe. 
Mrs. Edenall had gone to the Roman tower; she 
often set off there quite early in the morning, 
taking books and work, and not returning until 
dusk. So Janet was left alone, with the exception 
of Lettice and Colin, who were having a cozy chat 
in the back yard. 

There were only two sitting-rooms in Nor- 
lands Cottage. These both pointed to the west. 
One of them, which Mrs. Cromarty called the 
best parlour, was painted light blue, and hung 
with home-made curtains of fine netting, wrought 



ST. OLAVE S. 55 

by Mistress Amiel Grey in her younger days. 
It was furnished in the quaint, old-fashioned style 
one sees in country houses; corner cupboards, 
full of china; bowls of rose and lavender 
leaves ; marvellous specimens of fancy work, in 
the shape of Rebeccas, and Elijahs, and Hagars ; 
porcelain shepherdesses on the chimney-piece, 
and little round tables covered with shells or 
curious pebbles. The other room, where Janet 
sat now, was wainscotted, and had been furnished 
within the last few years, very simply, but in a 
more modern style than the best parlour. There 
was a pure, fresh, wholesome, country feel about 
both the rooms, an atmosphere of goodness and 
quietness. One might fancy that the house had 
no memories of evil about it, that those old 
walls, could they speak, would tell only of quiet 
domestic happiness and home peace. 

There had been a gentle rain in the night, 
which freshened the worn-out flowers, and the 
scent of lavender, clove pink, and honeysuckle 
came in now through the open window. For 
sound the far-off murmur of the little Luthcn 
mingled with the nutter of leaves, or the solitary 
chirp of an idle sparrow answered the grave, 



56 st. olaveV 

measured monotone that came from the rookery 
in the elm tree at the corner of the cottage. 

For more than an honr Janet had been reading 
in that room ; then she began to knit, and, when 
she was tired of that too, she drew the white 
curtains over the lattice, and leaned back in her 
easy chair, thinking of the life that was and the 
life that might have been. 

Who is it says that we all learn, sooner or later, 
to be thankful for our might have beens ? It may 
be so, it must be so, but not always in this life. 
Some vexing problems find their solution even 
here, and of a few bitter griefs we learn to say, 
in earthly speech, "It is well." But the great 
might have beens wear their robes of mystery all 
through life, and not until eternity clears away 
the clouds of time shall we learn to thank God 
for them. 

Very rarely did Janet Bruce think of her ' ' might 
have beens" It was her wisdom, as it is the 
wisdom of most people, to put them quietly away, 
waiting for clearer light to shine upon them. 
Only now and then, in the loneliness of unem- 
ployed leisure, their ghostly faces peered out from 
the past, and seemed to mock her as she looked 



st. olave's. 57 

upon them. She was roused from one of these 
sad-coloured reveries by the distant tramp of foot- 
steps on the narrow winding path that led up 
from the ravine. As she listened, the sound 
came nearer and nearer, and then she could 
hear several voices speaking in low, muffled tones. 

She drew aside the window curtain to look into 
the garden. Four tall, strong, stalwart men, 
who seemed as if they might be haymakers, were 
just entering the little gate. They had made a 
sort of hammock of their fustian coats, and upon 
this they were carrying a man, who, from the 
care and tenderness with which they bore him, 
must have been very greatly injured. 

Most women, sitting alone in their peaceful 
homes, would have trembled at such a sight, 
thinking surely that woe had chanced to some 
one near and dear to them. Janet, in her great 
loneliness, had none to tremble for. There was 
only one person in all the world whose death 
could pain her now, and David was far away. So 
she waited, with a face perhaps a little paler, but 
calm as ever. 

Presently Lettice came tottering into the room, 
white and almost fainting. 



58 st. olave's. 

' ' Oh ! Miss Bruce," she said, " they've been 
and gone and brought a gentleman what's tum- 
bled down the Norlands landslip and killed him- 
self right out ; leastways, he lies as if he was 
took for death, but the men says the breath's in 
him yet. Do tell them to take him on to St. 
Olave's, ma'am; I'm clean beat out with fright, 
I am, ma'am. I can't abear being nigh hand a 
dead body, and he'll be a corpse as sure as sure 
afore morning. Do let 'em take him back, 
ma'am." And Lettice, who was a good-hearted 
girl, in a general way, but helpless as a baby in 
any time of real need, threw her apron over her 
head and burst into a fit of nervous crying. 

" Hush, Lettice," Janet said, as she made the 
trembling girl sit down on the sofa, " we must 
do what we can for him. Wait here until I call 
you," and she went out. 

The four men were standing with their burden 
in the little square entry. He lay perfectly 
motionless. A white handkerchief which they 
had taken out of his pocket was thrown over the 
face. The foremost of the men, a sturdy, honest- 
looking fellow, acted as spokesman for the rest. 

"Very sorry, ma'am, to trouble you, but we 



st. olave's. 59 

thought he'd die straight out if we trailed him to 
St. Olave's i' the drouth an' sunshine, an' we 
knowed Mistress Amiel Grey, bless her, were 
allers willing to help them as needed it, so we 
made bold to bring him here, being nigh hand." 

" You did quite right. I will do what I can 
for him. Has he met with an accident ?" 

" 'Deed, ma'am, and he has, and an ugly one, 
too j this here's the way it happened, ma'am. 
Me an' these here," the man jerked an elbow to- 
wards his companions, "was leadin' hay i' the 
meadow just t' other side the river, and I were 
forkin' a load up to t' waggon, when we see'd a 
gentleman on horseback galloppin' as hard as he 
could go along the bridle road fra Norlands here. 
We called out to him to hold hard, for yon land- 
slip's a mighty awk'ard place for them as isn't 
used to it. But he didn't take no heed, and afore 
we could any on us get across to stop him, it were 
all done. T' poor beast just gived a sort o' lollop 
an' slithered right away down wi' t' gentleman a 
holdin' on to him." 

" It were a awful sight, ma'am," continued the 
man ; " but God Almighty knows we'd ha' saved 
him if we could. Bill an' me came across and 



60 st. olave's. 

picked him up, and i/others fastened t y hoss np 
and corned after us, and we hugged him up the 
rocks best way we could." 

"You had better bring him in here," said Janet, 
opening the door which led into the best parlour. 
" Stay, though, I will fetch something to put him 
upon." 

Lettice was still sobbing hysterically into her 
apron, so Janet went up-stairs herself and dragged 
down one after the other a couple of mattresses, 
which she placed on the middle of the floor with 
some blankets upon them. Then she fetched a 
pillow, and the injured man was laid carefully 
down. 

He lay quite still, as if dead, and gave not the 
slightest sign of suffering. From his dress he 
appeared to be a gentleman. His coat, a dark 
grey tweed, was of the stylish cut which fashionable 
men wear ; his linen was beautifully fine, though 
torn and soiled by the briars over which he had 
fallen. His neck was bare, as if the scarf or tie 
had been dragged off. One hand was gloved, on 
the other was a splendid seal ring of white stone. 
He was tall, and broad, and finely propor- 
tioned. 



Gl 

" I ax yer pardon, ma'am/' said one of the men, 
as Janet stooped to lift the handkerchief from 
the face, and he looked down upon her slight 
figure with a pitying sort of tenderness, " Fm 
feared he ain't much of a sight for ye to look 
at. He were mighty grewsome when we picked 
him up, and his face sort o' clicked and drawed 
itself. It won't do ye no good, ma'am, to look at 
him, and we just covered him wi' this, 'cause we 
were feared if anybody catched sight on him they'd 
get a sort of turn. He was a awful weight to 
haul up. Bill an' me was almost beat out afore 
we'd got him half-way. I thought Bill would 
ha' gone into a swound." 

" The doctor must be sent for first thing," said 
Janet. " Come into the kitchen and rest, and the 
boy shall go down to St. Olave's for him." 
. The men followed her out into the clean, old- 
fashioned kitchen, whilst Miss Bruce directed 
Lettice, whose wits were slowly coming back 
again, to get some refreshment ready. Then 
she hunted up Colin, and told him to saddle 
Benjie and set off at once to St. Olave's* to fetch 
Dr. Greenwood, or the nearest doctor that could 
be got. The four men were soon back again to 



62 st. olave's. 

their work. One of them kindly offered to stay 
with Miss Bruce until the doctor came. 

1 ' She don't seem to be no good nohow/' he said, 
pointing towards the kitchen ; " and ye' re nobbut 
small yourself, ma'am, and it's sort o' fearsome 
like being nigh hand a man as may turn a corpus 
any moment. I ain't afeared o' accidents, ma'am, 
'cause I've see'd a sight of 'em i' my time, and 
I'll sit by him an' welcome if ye like." 

" You are very kind," Janet said, quietly, " but 
I am not afraid." So the men left. 

Janet went back again for awhile to her old 
seat by the window, from which, half an hour ago, 
she had seen the sufferer brought in. But it 
seemed kinder, even though it could do him no 
good, to keep watch beside the stranger who had 
been so unexpectedly thrown upon her for help 
and protection. He was lying quite still, evi- 
dently insensible or dead. Not a movement 
stirred the white coverlid which she had spread 
over him ; not a breath, that she could perceive, 
heaved the broad chest ; his hands — the ungloved 
one very white and smooth — hung listlessly down, 
not clenched or drawn as if in pain. Perhaps, 
even now, it might be only a body — nothing 



63 

but a body — over which she was keeping 
watch. 

She knelt down by him. Lettice was moving 
about the room, picking up some stalks of meadow 
grass which the men had trodden in with them 
from time to time stealing terrified glances at the 
figure stretched prostrate on the floor. 

After a few moments, Janet stooped down and 
slowly lifted the handkerchief from the pale face. 
There was a long pause. 

" Lettice you can go away." 

And awed by something in the tone of her 
mistress's voice, Lettice crept noiselessly out of 
the room. 

So Janet Bruce and the man whose faithless- 
ness had blighted all her life, met again. 



€4 



CHAPTER VI. 






F that lonely watching time Janet never 
spoke to any one. It was lived between 
God and her own soul. But when it 
was over there was a strange light upon her face, 
as if from some angel presence which had but 
just departed. 

The doctor came. Not Dr. Greenwood, but a 
stranger, a sharp dapper man, with a fussy address, 
a head that seemed to be somehow loose on his 
neck, and was always jerking about on invisible 
springs, tvvink ling little brown green eyes, and a 
voice that made its exit through his nose instead 
of travelling by the orthodox highway for the 
transmission of that organ. 



65 

Janet went into the entry to meet him. " Miss 
Bruce, I presume, ma'am/' said he, with a wave 
of the hand and a succession of spasmodic bows, 
" sister of the eminent composer of that name, 
formerly organist of the Cathedral; servant, 
ma'am, with the greatest of satisfaction. Do not 
recognize me perhaps, my name is Piflet ; Mar- 
maduke Piflet, medical practitioner, number 
Twenty-one, Little Back Priory Street, St. 
Olave's. I have come to undertake the manage- 
ment of a case which has taken place in your 
neighbourhood. Serious case, ma'am? — fit — 
accident — stroke? please introduce me to the 
patient, ma'am" 

Janet took him into the room where the 
injured man was lying, and related as briefly as 
she could the particulars of the accident as they 
were given to her by the labourer. 

"Awkward spot that Norlands landslip, very 
awkward spot ; ought to have been walled up by 
the Corporation years ago ; shall write a letter 
about it to the St. ' Olave's Chronicle ' this week 
myself. Culpable neglect of the public safety, 
very culpable neglect. And now, ma'am, with 
your permission we will consider what means 

VOL. III. f 



66 st. olave's. 

can be put in requisition for the treatment of 
the case." 

"Humph/* continued the little man as he 
knelt on the mattress, and carefully scanned the 
patients face, already settling into a ghastlier 
hue. "Not got to the terminus yet, but seems 
to be travelling that way by express train. 
Case of concussion of the brain, not apparently 
attended with severe external injuries, except 
this/* and Mr. Piilet pushed back the hair, reveal- 
ing a wound on the temples from which the blood 
welled slowly out drop by drop. 

"Don't recognize the face, ma'am; lived in 
and about St. Olave's all my life and never saw it 
before to my personal recollection. Haven't 
thought, perhaps, of examining the dress to see 
if anything will clear up his identity ?" 

Janet replied that she had not. 

" Of course, ma'am, wouldn't like to disturb 
him. But you needn't have been afraid ; he's got 
no more feeling about him than a dead sheep." 

Mr. Piflet thrust his hand into one of the 
pockets of the coat; it contained nothing but a 
cigar case and the fellow glove to that which the 
injured man wore. Next he felt in the waistcoat 



st. olave's. 67 

pocket and brought out two or three cards 
which he scanned eagerly through his blue 
spectacles. 

" New name this — Ramsay, Douglas Ramsay. 
Don't know any such person in this locality ; — 
stranger most likely, ma'am ; tourist, I should 
say, coming down perhaps from the moors up 
above Norlands." 

Mr. Piflet waited for an answer. Janet replied 
with a slight falter in her voice, that such was 
very likely to be the case. 

"Turning faint, ma'am, I perceive, said Mr. 
Piflet, looking up into Miss Bruce' s pale face. 
"It's an unpleasant occurrence, and I'm sorry 
there didn't happen to be a public-house in the 
neighbourhood, or anything of that sort to take 
him to. But he won't trouble you long, ma'am, 
he won't trouble you long." And then Mr. 
Piflet proceeded to examine his patient. 

" You will find me in the room opposite if any- 
thing should be wanted," said Janet, as she went 
out. 

" All right, ma'am. And if you'll allow me to 
recommend you a little stimulant, just a thimble full 
of brandy to exhilarate the nervous system. Some 

9 2 



68 st. olave's. 

ladies object to the use of alcoholic beverages, 
ma'am/' and there was a sly twinkle in the doctor's 
eye which contradicted his words, "but I assure 
you in the present emergency a very slight quan- 
tity, for instance " 

Janet did not wait to hear the exact dose pre- 
scribed. Her strength was failing and she hurried 
away that she might be alone. She went into the 
sunshiny little room on the other side the entry. 
All remained as she had left it an hour ago, except 
that the nickering shadows of the elm tree leaves 
had shifted from the blind, and a tame raven that 
belonged to the cottage had hopped in through the 
open window, and was balancing himself on the arm 
of the chair which she had occupied. As she stood 
upon the threshold now, the bird did not stir from 
his place, but only glowered solemnly at her out of 
his dim unblinking eyes. 

She sat down, covering her face with her hands, 
and tried to think. Scarce half an hour had passed 
when Mr. Piflet's little quick rap was heard at the 
door. 

" Sorry to interrupt you, ma'am, but I don't 
see anyone else about. Some scraps of linen if you 
please, rather worn will be all the better, and a few 
strips, stout and strong, for bandages." 



st. olave's. 69 

Janet fetched them. In about a quarter of an 
hour he came back again. 

" A basin of water, ma'am, and a sponge, and 
one or two towels. And if you think your nervous 
system equal to such a strain upon it, I should be 
able to complete my operations more expeditiously 
with a little of your assistance." 

Without a single word, Janet brought the water, 
and quietly took her place with Mr. Piflet beside 
the mattress. He was just beginning to bind up 
the wound in the temples. 

( ' Perhaps you will be kind enough to cut me off 
a few strips of linen first, ma'am, about this 
width," and the doctor made a notch with his 
penknife ; ' ( Yes, that is quite correct ; and now 
I'll trouble you to support his head. Look, so, 
just raise it a little with your right arm ; there, I 
see you are perfectly equal to everything I re- 
quire." 

Janet put back with a steady hand the heavy 
locks of curling yellow hair, the hair she was once 
so proud of. It was clotted and dabbled with 
blood now, and in some places whole locks were 
torn away as if they had been caught by out- 
reaching brambles or fragments of rock, in that 
terrible fall. 



70 

u Is he very much injured ?" she said, calmly 
pressing the sponge upon the wound, whilst Mr. 
Piflet prepared some lint. 

" Pretty tolerable,, ma'am, pretty tolerable/' and 
Mr. Piflet ran over his list of casualties, as if it 
had been an inventory of goods at an auction sale. 

1 c Two or three ribs broken, ancle dislocated with 
flesh rent, shoulder put out, severe internal in- 
juries, and a few bruises and contusions; no ex- 
terior wound except this in the head." 

" But he does not appear to suffer much." 

" Bless you no, ma'am, no more consciousness 
of pain, as I said before, than a dead sheep. And 
its a great mercy too. Why, if he had the use of his 
faculties, he'd be shrieking out like mad, such a 
hash as he's made himself. Just a little higher, 
ma'am, if you please, your arm is giving way ; 
but perhaps you find his head too heavy. We 
might get a couple of books, I think that would 
hold it up." 

" No, I will hold it myself. I am not tired," 
and Janet drew the poor dying head closer to 
her bosom, the resting place she once hoped it 
would have all through life. But she betrayed no 
sign of feeling. 



ST. olave's. 71 

Mr. Piflet finished binding up the wound, then 
gave his hands a vigorous shake and rubbed them 
briskly together. Then he scanned Janet keenly 
through his blue spectacles. 

' ' I must do you the credit, ma'am, of saying that 
you've the most astonishing nerve for a lady that 
I ever met with. Dear me, half the women in 
England would have fainted fifty times over before 
they'd got through what you've done this after- 
noon. You're a credit to your sex, ma'am, you're a 
credit to your sex. But then you see, ma'am," 
and the little man waved his hands, "circum- 
stances alter cases. Now, if the unfortunate indi- 
vidual had been a relative, for instance, a husband, 
or some one you felt very personal to, no doubt 
your fortitude would have failed, and you would 
have succumbed to the ordinary weakness of your 
sex. But you see strangers make a more limited 
demand upon one's sympathies. I would thank 
you to hold that head quite firmly for a moment 
or two longer, until the bandages have had time to 
settle, and then we will lay it on the pillow. I 
don't see that you need be troubled with it any 
more." 

Janet was glad that the doctor had talk enough 



72 

for them both. He did not wait for any reply, 
but went on in a brisk nasal twang, — 

" Strangers, ma'am, do not excite our sensi- 
bilities to a painful extent, and we are generally 
able to discharge the duties which devolve upon 
us in relation to them with fortitude. I must 
confess, however, Miss Bruce, that your conduct 
on the present emergency is beyond praise, alto- 
gether beyond praise." 

Mr. Piflet emphasized this eulogistic little essay 
by sundry vigorous nourishes of the sponge which 
he held in his hand. 

" And now," continued he, gathering together 
the bits of hair which he had cut off, " I don't see 
any good in prolonging my attendance at present, 
especially as I have one or two other urgent cases 
that are demanding my professional services. I 
will leave the patient under your charge, Miss 
Bruce, he cannot be in better keeping ; and in 
the course of an hour or so I will look in 
again." 

" And if he should revive ?" said Janet. 

" Oh, bless you, ma'am, but he won't revive, 
nothing of the sort. He'll die in the course of 
the evening as sure as I'm a medical practitioner. 



73 

My only wonder is that the breath has kept in him 
so long. I assure you, my dear madam, I 
shouldn't have thought it worth while to attend to 
him at all, so far as his own personal advan- 
tage is concerned, but you see there will of 
course be a lengthened account of the accident in 
the St. ' Olave's Chronicle/ and it's more creditable 
to the medical man who is called in if the 
case is done up just a little for appearance sake. 
If you don't mind having the trouble you can give 
him a spoonful of brandy now and then ; it won't 
make any difference one way or another, and you'll 
feel as if you were doing something." 

1 ' You can let his head go now, it will do just as 
well on the pillow as in your hands," continued 
Mr. Piflet, drawing on his gloves and freshening 
himself up in a general way previous to his depar- 
ture. " It's just possible that consciousness may 
return, and in that case you must watch him, for 
fear he should get restless and unloose the 
bandages. If that wound begins to bleed again, 
he'll be a dead man in no time. Good afternoon, 
Miss Bruce, good afternoon. I'll look in again 
before long," and with a second succession of 
little bows, Mr. Piflet bustled away to look after 
his horse. 



74 

Douglas Ramsay lay quite still. His eyelids 
were half open, and through the thick golden 
lashes his blue eyes gleamed with a cold, glassy 
stare. But there was no sign of pain yet upon the 
face, that was growing paler and paler, nor the 
faintest motion to tell whether life was waxing or 
waning in that prostrate form which had once 
been Janet's pride and joy. 

And sitting down she watched him there. 



75 




CHAPTER VII. 



|UE,ELY there is nothing on this earth 
more Godlike in its forgiveness than 
love. Nothing so slow to resent, so 
ready to forgive, the blackest ill ; so full of that 
divine spirit, which thinketh no evil, and endureth 
all things. Keeping her lonely watch by the side 
of this unconscious, dying man, Janet Bruce 
forgave him all the wrong he had done. Memory 
overpassed years of separation and faithlessness, 
to rest on the old long ago time, when those eyes, 
so dim and vacant now, had bent over hers with the 
glorious look of tender, and, as she hoped, undying 
love -, and that arm, so heavy and nerveless, held 
her in its strong, protecting clasp. 

In his prosperity he had forgotten her, but 



76 

dying, God had brought him back to her again, 
that his head might find its last resting-place on 
her breast, and his farewell breath spend itself upon 
her faithful lips. She had but one wish now, that 
ere he died they might once more look into each 
other's eyes with the long, loving look of perfect 
trust, a look wherein all the past might be 
forgiven. This granted,, she could go through the 
rest of life that remained to her peacefully and even 
with a glad, quiet thankfulness. It was not much 
to ask. That heart is surely humble enough which 
prays for nothing on this side of eternity, but the 
memory of gladness — only its memory. Praying 
for this, Janet grew calm, and there came into 
her face a happy look that had not rested there for 
years. 

The day wore on. First the flickering shadows 
of the vine and ivy leaves died off from the lattice 
window ; the sunshine crept up and up until at 
last it just crested with a golden rim the topmost 
twigs of the great elm tree. Then the sun dipped 
down beneath the Norlands hills, leaving upon 
everything the quiet, pleasant even tint of early 
summer twilight. Just the sort of gloaming that 
Janet fancied her future might be. 



77 

At the prospect of having a death in the house, 
Lettice had begged so piteously to be allowed to 
go back to the Old Lodge, that Miss Bruce had not 
the heart to refuse ; and when Colin went for the 
doctor, she sent a message by him to Miss Luckie, 
asking that one of the older servants might be 
allowed to come to Norlands, in her place. 

Early in the afternoon Mrs. Cromarty came. 
None so trusty as she was in time of sorrow or 
sickness. As soon as she crossed the threshold, 
her very presence seemed a stay in the house. 
There was a certain steady, rock-like firmness 
about her, to which, in their time of need, weaker 
natures unconsciously clung, and never found it 
fail. 

Lettice was not a model of neatness at the best 
of times, and, in the bustle of her hurried flight, 
had left everything in mid-day disorder. Mrs. 
Cromarty laid away her bonnet and shawl and 
began to set things to rights, as soon as she got 
into the kitchen. Whilst doing so, she came upon 
the locks of hair, some of them clotted with blood, 
which Mr. Piflet had brought out of the room 
after dressing Douglas Kamsay's wound. They 
were lying together in a little heap on a table in 



78 st. olave's. 

the corner of the room. Mrs. Cromarty took up 
one of them and began to smooth it over her 
finger. By-and-by an expression, not of womanly 
pity or tenderness, but of sternness, almost of 
wrath, came into her dark face. 

" Surely I know that yellow hair again," she 
said to herself in an undertone. " Isn't it the 
devil's own colour that shone so bright on the false 
head of him as lured my young mistress away from 
kith and kin, and cast her out to perish ?" 

She dropped the hair. It fell amongst the rest, 
coiling and uncoiling like a living thing. She 
watched it for a long time, her countenance darken- 
ing with bitter memories. 

" I wouldn't say for certain it's him, though. 
Maybe it belongs to some poor bruised creature as 
has the golden hair without the grewsome heart ; 
and the woman he loves may be waiting for him 
now, and wondering why he stays so long. God 
bless 'em, and have mercy on 'em both. It's a 
weary world, it is, and them's well done to that 
leaves it afore the sorrow comes." 

Mrs. Cromarty did not invent any excuse for 
going into the room where the dying man lay. 
She knew that Janet was there, and there was a 



st. olave's. 79 

sort of native refinement about her that pre- 
vented her from intruding unasked into the 
presence of others. When she had done all that 
could be done in the way of making the house 
look comfortable, she took out the little Testament 
which she always carried in her pocket, and sitting 
down in the open doorway, began to read. Pre- 
sently Miss Bruce tapped on the wall ; there were 
no bells in the cottage at Norlands. 

Mrs. Cromarty laid her book down and obeyed 
the summons. Janet was bending over Douglas 
Ramsay, so that his face was hidden. Only those 
heavy masses of golden hair seemed to make a 
sunshine in the room. 

" Mrs. Cromarty, I would thank you to bring 
me fresh water and a sponge, in case these ban- 
dages should give way." 

Mrs. Cromarty fetched them. 

" And can I watch him, ma'am, while you rest ? 
You're looking weary, and it's sort o' lonesome 
tending strange folk. It's none like sitting by 
one's own kin." 

Janet looked wistfully at the poor helpless form 
lying before her. Ah ! if he had only given her 
the right, years and years ago, to take the place 



80 

she held by him now ! But God had given it 
to her at last, and none should keep her 
from it. 

"You are very good, Mrs. Cromarty, but I 
will stay with him. It is not wearisome to me. 
You see he does not suffer much; he lies quite 
still. And Janet moved slightly to one side, so as 
to let the pale face be seen. 

Mrs. Cromarty looked steadfastly upon it, but 
spoke no word, and then left the room, closing 
the door quietly after her. 

"It's him," she whispered, as she went back 
into the kitchen. "I could have told that face 
among a thousand. And so his proud deeds have 
come back upon him. Verily the Lord plentifully 
rewardeth the evil doer I" 

By-and-by Mrs. Edenall came in, and without 
staying to speak to any one, went upstairs into 
her own room. Janet pondered how best to tell 
her of the startling change which had come over 
that peaceful little household since she left it. 
Mrs. Edenall was easily unnerved. Even to 
listen to any story of suffering made her shiver 
and turn pale ; and since her health failed, she 



81 

had been more susceptible to any sudden shock. 
This room, too, where Douglas Ramsay lay, was 
the one where she generally passed her time in 
an evening. It was farther away from household 
sounds than the other, and had a pleasanter out- 
look into the garden. She must be told at once ; 
there was no time to lose. 

Janet listened to Mrs. EdenalFs footstep on 
the stairs, and then came out, taking care to shut 
the door after her. 

" No, we will not pass our time there to-night," 
she said, as Mrs. Edenall laid her hand upon 
the latch, to go in as usual ; " come and let us sit 
in the other parlour." 

Mrs. Edenall followed her, and they sat down 
side by side in the old-fashioned window-seat, 
looking out into the garden. The flowers were 
all closed up now, and not a sound was to be 
heard but the far away babble of the Luthen 
on the rocks below. Janet shivered as she 
heard it. 

" You are cold," said Mrs. Edenall, " and the 
night air blows sharp ; let us have a fire 
lighted in the blue room, and finish our evening- 
there." 

VOL. III. G 



82 st. olave's. 

"No, I am not cold, indeed I am not cold; 
it was only the chill from this open window. 
Have yon had a pleasant day V s 

"Pleasant, yes, it has been pleasant," and 
there came up a sunshiny smile over Mrs. 
Eden all's face ; " and what do you think, Janet, 
I do believe I went to sleep for nearly all the 
afternoon, sitting on one of those stone coffins. I 
had taken f Joan of Arc' with me, and was read- 
ing that beautiful farewell to her native valleys — 
you remember it, don't you ? I once heard you 
say you had read it." 

And Mrs. Edenall began to repeat in her 
low, rich voice, those tender, passionate, yearn- 
ing verses : — 

" Lebwohl ihr Berge, ihr geliebten Triften, 
Ihr traulich stillen Thaler, lebet wohl ! 
Johanna wird nun nicht mehr auf euch wandeln, 
Johanna sagt euch ewig Lebewohl." 

"I read them over many times, and then I 
must have fallen asleep, for I had the dearest, 
peacefullest dream." 

Surely it had been a dear dream, if only the 
memory of it brought that smile to Mrs. Edenall' s 
face. 



st. olave's. 83 

"It was about a friend, a very dear friend, 
whom I lost many years ago, nearly twenty 
years ago. I thought we were together again, 
and all the dreary time between was forgotten; 
all the pain and weariness. It was a very beau- 
tiful dream. I think of it now as we do of 
perfect music. I think some one came past and 
woke me, for when I opened my eyes the grass 
was trampled down just before me, and some of 
the wild flowers were broken." 

Then they were silent for awhile, Janet trying 
to think of some words in which to tell her of that 
other thing, which seemed scarce more than a 
dream in its strange suddenness. 

" Miss Bruce," said Mrs. Edenall, by-and-by, 
<c I think you must have been having a nap this 
afternoon." 

' ' No, indeed," said Janet, wearily ; but why ?" 

" Well if you had, I should say that while you 
slept the enemy came and — not exactly sowed 
tares, but tore down those beautiful sweet peas 
which climb over the garden gate ; not the 
large gate, you know, but the little wooden stile 
which leads down to the ravine path. The blos- 
soms were scattered far into the garden when I 

o 2 



84 s.t. olave's. 

came in, as if some one had got his feet entangled 
in them and dragged them along. Alice Grey 
will be so grieved, for those flowers were quite 
her pets/' 

Janet remembered that was the gate at which 
the men who carried Douglas Ramsay came in. 

" Some people have been here this afternoon, 
Mrs. Edenall ; you will have to hear it, and I may 
as well tell you now ; something fearful has hap- 
pened since you went away this morning." 

" Indeed, it cannot be very dreadful, for you 
look so calm. Have some thieves been about V 

" No. You remember the Norlands landslip." 

" The landslip. Ah, I cannot forget that." 

" A gentleman was riding past there this after- 
noon, and his horse took fright, and both were 
thrown down together." 

" Oh ! how shocking. And did the men bring 
him through the garden, then, on their way to St. 
Olave's?" 

" No, they have left him here. He is lying in 
the room opposite, now." 

" Oh ! Janet, and you have been alone all day 
with no one to help you. How cruel. Has any- 
one been sent for ?" 



st. olave's. 85 

" Yes. Colin went for the nearest doctor, and 
a person from Little Priory Street came ; a Mr. 
Prflet. He did what he could for him, and promised 
to come again soon." 

"And the poor fellow will have to stay 
here until he recovers so far as to be able to 
be removed." 

" He will never recover. Mr. Pi net says he 
will in all probability die before morning. I am 
very sorry for you/' added Janet, seeing that 
Mrs. Edenall trembled and could scarcely keep 
her seat. "I was afraid it would be a great 
shock to you. If only the house at Westwood 
had been ready for you to go there. But you 
could not do that, it has been shut up so 
long." 

"1 don't want to go anywhere, Janet. I 
will stay with you. I am not so frightened as 
you think. Where is he ? let me try if I can 
help him ; is he very much hurt ?" 

" Internally, very much, but there is no wound 
that you can perceive except on the temples, and 
Mr. Piflet has bound it up. He has never spoken 
at all since they brought him in, and I don't 
think he suffers." 



86 st. olave's. 

" And have none of his friends come? Is 
there no one who cares anything about him ?" 

For the first time Janet's voice faltered. She 
said very faintly — 

" He has no friends that we know of. He ap- 
pears to be a stranger." 

' ' And can you not ascertain his name ?" 

Janet could not trust herself to speak those two 
words which had once held for her such a world of 
happiness. She murmured out something about 
a card with a strange name upon it, not known in 
St. Olave's. 

" But I must go back to him/' she said, " I 
have been a long time away now. Mr. Piflet said 
he might revive a little just at the last ; we must 
not leave him alone." 

She left the room, but turned faint and was 
obliged to go into the garden for a moment. The 
cool night air revived her, and then she went back 
to the room where Douglas Ramsay lay. As she 
passed the little sitting-room she noticed that it 
was empty, and the door of the other parlour, 
that she had closed carefully after her, was stand- 
ing wide open. The sight which met her as she 
stood upon its threshold first startled, and then as 



st. olave's. 87 

all its meaning slowly dawned, benumbed her into 
a cold, dull stupor of grief and horror. 

Mrs. Edenall had thrown herself upon the mat- 
tress beside the dying man. His unconsciousness 
seemed to have passed away ; he moved now and 
then as if in pain ; the linen which bound his 
wounds had given way, and blood was slowly 
oozing out again upon the pillow. Mrs. EdenalFs 
head was on his breast, her arms clasped round 
his neck. She was weeping passionately, and as 
from time to time she raised her face to kiss the 
cold whitening lips, she murmured through her 
tears — 

u Douglas, Douglas ! speak to me, speak to me 
once more before you die ! Oh ! Douglas, my 
own, my only one i" 

Janet understood it all ; dimly at first, and then 
with cruel, vivid, intense pain. This was the 
woman for whose love her own had been cast 
away. This Mrs. Edenall, whom she had cherished 
as a sister, who had sat by her fireside and slept 
beneath the shadow of her roof, was the stranger 
whose fair face had beguiled him from his truth, 
and quenched out of her life all its hope and joy. 
Janet comprehended now the fitful restlessness 



88 st. olave's. 

the proud reserve which never spoke of the past, 
the long intervals of gloomy silence, or wild, 
impetuous excitement. For one moment all the 
pride and purity of her nature revolted from this 
guilty creature who lay prostrate before her ; this 
woman who was a sinner. 

But only for a moment. It was no time for 
upbraiding. With one quick prayer for help, she 
pressed out of sight the bitterness of the past. 
Without a word of reproach or surprise she went 
quietly round to her own place by Douglas 
Ramsay's pillow, and began to replace the band- 
ages which had fallen off. Her hands were very 
steady, her face gave no sign of the agony within. 
She washed away the blood which was trickling 
over his forehead, and smoothed back the heavy 
tangled hair. As she did so, he muttered very 
faintly — they were the first words he had spoken — 

" Soft and cool like Janet's hand — Poor Janet 
Bruce. I ought not " 

And then his voice died out in a fluttering gasp. 
Mrs. EdenalFs face had been hidden on his breast 
all the while ; now she sprang to her feet like a 
wild creature. As with a lightning flash of intel- 
ligence, she, too, understood it all. Her whole 



89 

frame shook and trembled with excitement ; her 
face grew stormy in its fury. Drawing her- 
self np to her full height, she glared fiercely down 
upon Janet. 

Janet returned the glance with one, calm, pure, 
un blenching — one before which guilt might cower 
and soiled memory blush. But Mrs. Edenall did 
neither. 

For a long time those two women stood looking 
into each other's faces, through the moments of a 
silence, broken only by the low breathing of the 
dying man, which was growing feebler and more 
fluttering at every gasp. 

He muttered something, and moved restlessly. 

Janet bent over him ; but Mrs. Edenall pushed 
her fiercely away. 

" He is mine, only mine ; he is my husband. 
You never loved him as I did; your northern 
blood is cold, cold. He deceived me and forsook 
me, but I love him still; he belonged to no one 
but me. Douglas, speak to me, my darling, and 
tell me you are mine, only mine." 

She pressed her face close to his, raining down 
upon it a flood of hot passionate tears. Then there 
was silence. By-and-by a faint light flickered 



90 

over the ashen countenance; a beam of intelligence 
broke feebly from the glazing half-open eyes,, 
which had wandered to Mrs. EdenalFs face. 
Janet's was turned away that she might not look 
upon its paleness. 

" Marian." 

"Douglas, you know me, you love me, you 
speak to me ! Say it again, Douglas, my own, my 
own \" 

" Marian ! Marian \" 

And so, with her warm lips brooding over his, 
and her great, deep, passionate eyes pouring out 
their flood of tenderness upon him, Douglas 
Ramsay died. 

It was Janet's hand which closed his eyes and 
straightened those stalwart limbs for their death 
rest. Then she would have led Mrs. Edenall 
away, but Marian shook her off with a wild im- 
perious gesture, and clung more closely to the 
corpse, covering with tears and caresses the wan 
face that could feel neither any more. 

Very patiently Janet rose, and left the room. 
It was no place for her now, the unloved, the for- 
saken one. She might not even watch over the 
last sleep of him whom living she had loved so 



91 

well. She dragged her slow, weary steps into the 
little sitting-room, and crouched down on the 
window-seat, looking out into the greying twilight. 
Then she clasped her hands over her face, and 
tears, the bitterest Janet Bruce had ever shed, 
came slowly trickling through the thin fingers. 
All was so utterly dreary and hopeless. Nothing 
in the present of her life, nothing in the future, 
but only dim, patient endurance. God forgive 
her that, in the first bitterness of that sorrow, she 
prayed as a greater than she once did, " Oh, that 
I now might die \ 3i 

So often, groping through clouds and thick 
darkness, we stretch our feeble hands to heaven 
and cry for light ; only one gleam to lighten the 
shadows of the road — only one ray to show where 
we may plant our feet without treading upon 
thorns. And then comes to us that solemn voice, 
sounding across the gulf of ages and centuries, 
clear as when first it stilled the Patriarch's 
questionings, "He giveth no account of any of 
His matters." Listening to this voice, we learn to 
wait patiently, until heaven shall bring the open 
vision. 

Janet learned to wait, too. In that hour the 



92 

bitterness of death passed ; the bitterness of life, 
too, which is sometimes keener than any death can 
give. 

The room grew dark — so dark that she could 
not see the tall, drooping figure that came gliding 
towards her, until Mrs. Edenall knelt at her side. 
Her hands sought Janet 's in the darkness, and 
held them tight. By-and-by there was a voice ; 
It was low, humble as a little child's — 

" Janet, forgive me, I loved him very much/' 
And, because in the calm, majestic presence of 
death, all human wrongs fade away, Janet pressed 
her lips on the poor worn face, and the past was 
blotted out. 



93 




CHAPTER VIII. 



? 

J. HEY had been sitting there for nearly 



an hour, when Mrs. Cromarty came up 
m the long stone passage which led from 
the kitchen into the front of the house. Some 
white linen hung over her arm ; in one hand she 
held a small oil-lamp, in the other a basin and 
towels. She paused as she passed the open parlour 
door, and, flashing the light of her lamp into 
the little room, she said, in a calm, deliberate 
voice — 

" I am going to attend to the body, ma'am." 
"The body," nothing but "the body." Oh, 
the chill that steals into our hearts when am 
human form that we have caressed and fondled, 



94 st. olave's. 

over which we have poured smiles of loving tender- 
ness or tears of sympathy, comes to be spoken of 
as only "the body." Oh, the loneliness — far 
worse than death — which those must feel whose 
faith looks no farther than this — whose creed 
leaves nothing of departed friends but " the body V 9 

Janet shivered, but said nothing, and Mrs. 
Cromarty passed on. 

By-and-by, Janet, utterly over-worn and weary, 
went away to her own room for such rest as sleep 
could give. Mrs. Edenall stayed behind. In the 
dark and stillness, she could hear distinctly the 
sounds that came from the other side of the 
passage ; the plash of water, the muffle of the linen 
wrappings, the fall of something, now and then, 
as Mrs. Cromarty moved about the dead man. 

She had been sitting there for a long time, 
when Mrs. Cromarty passed again and went into 
the kitchen. Mrs. Edenall fancied she heard her 
bolting the outer doors, and, thinking that all was 
quiet for the night, she stole noiselessly into the 
death-chamber. 

Douglas Ramsay was still lying on the mattress 
in the middle of the floor, where the men had 
first laid him ; but everything about him now was 



95 

pure snowy white. The large sheet which was 
thrown over him revealed the grand outline of his 
figure, unworn by sickness, and unmarred even 
by the fearful accident that had befallen him. 
The feeble glimmer of the lamp-light flickered 
upon the golden hair, which, like a glory, fell 
around his brow. There was just a gleam of 
glassy blue through the thick eyelashes, and the 
lips had stiffened into the still rigid lines that 
no more human passion could have leave to break. 
His hands — those great strong nervy hands which, 
last time she saw him, were thrust out in horror, 
as if to bid her away — clasped each other peace- 
fully upon his breast, just as his mother might 
have placed them years and years ago, when he 
lay an innocent baby on her knee. 

She threw herself down beside him once more, 
and laid her white cheek to his ; the lamp scarce 
showed which wore most of death's hue. Ah ! he 
had been very cruel and very wicked; he had 
wronged and deceived her, but that was over now. 
All the old wild passionate love came surging 
back again to her heart. 

" Douglas ! Douglas Ramsay ! " she moaned 
forth, clasping the poor dead head to her breast. 



ST. OLAVE S. 



" I gave up all for the love of you ; speak to me 
once more, Douglas, my own, my only one ! * 
And then she kissed his lips, his eyelids, the 
hands which lay folded in the icy stillness of 
death. 

Mrs. Cromarty had been into the kitchen to 
fetch a fresh supply of oil for the lamp. She 
stood in the open doorway now. For awhile she 
paused, her eyes fixed on the two prostrate figures 
before her. She gazed intently from one to the 
other. The golden hair she knew but too well, 
not the grey tresses that were mingling with it. 
While she looked in wonderment and perplexity, 
Mrs. Edenall rose and knelt bv the side of the 
mattress, her hands clasped upon the pillow where 
Douglas Ramsay's head lay. 

"But/' she said, at last, "he did love me. 
"Mine was the last name he spoke — c Marian, 
Marian ! ' Oh ! if I could hear it once more, 
only once more ! " 

Mrs. Cromarty's swarthy face grew pale; a 
look of infinite compassion, not unmixed with a 
certain stern indignation, came over it. She 
stepped a few paces forward, set down the little 
phial of oil she had brought with her, and laid a 
hand on Mrs. EdenalPs shoulder. 



st. olave's. 97 

" My lady, Miss Marian Brandon \" 

The name silent now for nearly twenty years ; 
the maiden name, buried with the innocence of 
maidenhood. Mrs. Edenall looked np. One 
quick glance of recognition passed between them; 
then she crouched at Mrs. Cromarty 's feet and 
buried her face in her dress. 

" Honor Grant ! you have come back to call 
my sin to my remembrance. Do not despise me. 
I erred, but I have suffered very much." 

" God forbid, Miss Marian ! " and Mrs. 
Cromarty bent wistfully down over the worn 
features, pale and sharpened now, yet retaining 
still the faint impress of their girlish beauty. 
" Ye have enough to bear, and FH no make the 
burden heavier. It's small call one poor human 
sinner has to despise another ! The Lord knows 
I've prayed for ye night and day, that if ye were 
living, He would send peace to your poor heart ; 
for ye did it ignorantly, I aye believed that. 
Come away, my lady, now. This is not the place 
for you." 

Mrs. Cromarty raised her tenderly and carried 
her away to her own room — just as, more than 
thirty years ago, she had carried her, a fair-haired, 

VOL. III. h 



98 st. olave's. 

sleeping little girl, to the lace-curtained cot, in 
the stately manor of Brandon. 

Next morning Alice Grey came. She had 
heard of the accident, not the death which fol- 
lowed so closely upon it. She only saw Miss 
Bruce, for Mrs. Edenall was too ill to leave her 
room. 

Janet received her very calmly. To strangers, 
or even to such a friend as Alice Grey, the death- 
stroke which had come must be spoken of as 
" a sudden shock," " a very painful accident." 
Nothing more than this ; no word of the hopes 
it had stricken down, or of the bitter waters 
into which forgiveness had cast the branch of 
healing. 

"And for you to have had the trouble of it, 
oh, Miss Bruce, I was sorry ! 9> said Alice, feeling 
as if her kindness in bringing Janet and Mrs. 
Edenall to Norlands had been somehow at fault. 
"If only more of the servants had been here, 
I should not have minded so much; but it was 
such a terrible thing for you to be left alone with 
him, except Mrs. Cromarty. I almost wonder 
you did not go away." 

"That would not have been kind, Alice. 



99 

don't think you would have done so yourself. 
I was glad — I was very thankful to be able to 
watch over him." 

" Ah ! but you are so good ; even strangers are 
sure to be cared for by you." 

Even strangers ! Janet clutched the white 
curtains in her hand as Alice said this. They 
were sitting in the broad, low window- seat of the 
little parlour, looking out into the garden, where 
a few withered sweet-pea blossoms, torn off by 
the men as they brought Douglas Ramsay 
through the gate, were still scattered about. 
Even strangers ! She was very thankful that no 
one, not even Alice Grey, knew what Douglas 
had been to her. 

" Does he suffer very much, Miss Bruce ? " 
said Alice, toying carelessly with the ivy leaves 
that straggled in through the open window. 

" Not now. He died last night." 

Alice let the ivy branch drop from her hands 
and her face grew a shade paler. Death was more 
a real thing to her now than it had been six 
months ago. She was quiet for a little while, and 
then said with the slightest possible fall in her 
voice : — 

h 2 



100 st. olave's. 

u He would not be able to see any of his friends. 
I wonder if lie bad a wife,, or — or anyone be loved 
very mucb. It is bard to die quite alone. Do 
you know if be was a stranger bere ?" 

C( I believe be was." 

" And did be tell you anything about bow the 
accident happened ; was he able to speak before 
his death ? Oh, Miss Bruce, I beg your pardon, I 
ought not to have talked so much about him/' 
Alice said hurriedly, seeing Janet's utter pallor 
and the trembling that had seized her. " It was 
such a terrible thing, I am sure it must have 
shaken you very much. Don't tell me any more 
now, we will talk about something else." 

Janet was glad of the release. She leaned back 
in her chair and closed her eyes. Yes, it was in- 
deed painful to recal those last words of his, or 
speak them. 

"You must not stay here," said Alice, as if 
anxious to change the subject. " Westwood is 
not ready for you to go to, but you can come to 
the Old Lodge. You know he was nothing to 
either of you, and you can do him no more good. 
Go back with me this morning. I told Miss 
Luckie I should bring you." 



st. olave's. 101 

Much to her surprise, Janet declined. 

1 ' You are very kind,, Alice., but for myself I 
would rather stay here until after he is buried. It 
will do me no harm." 

" That is just like you, Miss Bruce. If you had 
loved him," a faint blush dyed Alice's cheek — 
c ' If you had loved him as much as I love Cuth- 
bert, you could not have done more for 
him." 

Janet almost felt the shadow of a smile come to 
her lips as Alice said this. Was that young girl's 
fancy, the plaything of a passing hour, fed on 
caresses and sweet words, to be placed side by side 
with the overmastering love, strong through disap- 
pointment and holy through suffering, which had 
bound her to Douglas Ramsay ? 

But she said nothing more about it, and quietly 
turned the conversation into a different direction 
until it was time for Alice to go away. 

" If you won't come with me I suppose I must 
leave you. But Janet, you bear trouble so quietly. 
If it hadn't been for just that one little tremble in 
your voice, I should scarcely have known that 
anything was the matter. I wonder if it is the 
manner of your country to be so still and staid. 



102 st. olave's. 

I'm sure if it is., Mr. Bruce was quite wrong when 
he said I had Scottish blood in my veins." And 
with that Alice left the room. 

" Who said you had Scottish blood in your 
veins, darling ?" said Mrs. Cromarty, who was com- 
ing out of the blue room and met Alice in the 
long stone passage. 

" Only Mr. Bruce, nearly a year ago. I re- 
member it very well/' and there came a pleased, 
softened look over Alice's face, " I was copying 
out some music for him, and I happened to say 
the name of a place in Scotland which English 
people can never pronounce. And I did it so well 
he said I must belong to the country in some 
way. May I come through your kitchen, Mrs. 
Cromarty, I want to give a message to Colin be- 
fore I go ?" 

' ' Yes, and welcome, Miss Alice ; you'll leave a 
streak o' sunshine in it where you pass, and we 
want it sadly the day." 

Alice followed her. As she passed through, she 
caught sight of the little table in the corner where 
the locks of Douglas Bamsay's hair were still 
lying. From a sort of superstitious feeling Mrs. 
Cromarty forbore to burn them and intended that 



ST. OLAVE S. 103 

they should be buried in the coffin. Alice went 
up to the table. 

"Is that some of his hair, Mrs. Cromarty, I 
mean does it belong to the person, the gentleman 
who was killed?" 

" 'Deed and it does, Miss Alice. Yon's Douglas 
Ramsay's hair." 

" Douglas Ramsay " — Alice mused a while. 
" Mrs. Cromarty, do you know if Dunnie is the 
pet name for Douglas in Scotland ?" 

"Maybe it is, honey. Scotch folk handles 
their christened names so queer, while ye never 
know what's what. They call Isabella, Isy, an' 
that beautiful name Margaret, as is fit for a born 
Queen in England, is never nought but Maggie 
when ye get t'other side o' t' Tweed." 

" Because poor Aunt Amiel used to talk about 
a little boy called Dunnie, that she knew a long 
long time ago, before Uncle Grey died. And he 
had beautiful curling golden hair, that must have 
been just like this." 

" Happen it might, Miss Alice. Scotch folk 
mostly has golden hair, I've heerd tell." 

"Mr. Bruce hasn't, and I'm glad of it, for 
Mrs. Edenall says golden hair is false ; she would 



104 st. olave's. 

never trust golden hair, and you know Mr. Bruce 
is as true as the sun." 

" He is, honey, that's the right word ye've said; 
Mr. Bruce is as true as the sun. It'll be good 
luck to her as he weds, for where he loves once he 
loves for ever. It 'ud be a better world nor it is 
if folks all did the same." 

There was a long pause, during which Alice 
wound and unwound the yellow lock upon her 
finger, thinking the while of Cuthbert. She was 
quite sure he would be always true. At last she said, 

" Mrs. Cromarty, may I go and see him, this 
gentleman who is dead ? You know, since poor 
Aunt Amiel died I have not been afraid. I should 
like to look at him." 

Mrs. Cromarty had something of the notion so 
common amongst poor people, that strangers pay 
a sort of respect to the dead by asking to see them. 
So she made no objection, but took the key out of 
her pocket and preceded Alice to the room where 
Douglas Ramsay lay. She waited, standing upon 
the threshold whilst Alice went in alone. 

The young girl removed the linen sheet, and 
bending down her face, gazed earnestly upon his. 
No sleeping face need have been calmer. Alice 



ST. olave's. 105 

laid her hand upon his cheek, she wound her 
fingers in and out amongst his golden hair. At 
last — it was a strange thing for her to do — she 
stooped over him and without a shudder pressed 
her lips to his forehead, once, twice, and 
yet again. 

Mrs. Cromarty stood at the door watching 
her. As she did so, she noted a faint resem- 
blance between the two faces. There was the 
same broad, round, open brow, the same clearly 
pencilled eyebrow, and full drooping lid. When 
the sunlight fell on Alice's hair too, it was of 
the same tint as that which lay upon the 
death pillow. As Mrs. Cromarty watched the 
two, a vague thought crept into her mind, 
gradually shaping itself into clearness. Was it 
indeed so, that this young girl, this Alice, was no 
niece of Mistress Amiel Grey's, but the child, the 
base-born child of Marian Brandon ; and was she 
now bending over her father's corpse ? She looked 
keenly at Alice from beneath the shade of her 
dark overhanging brows. Alice glancing, up saw 
the look and its mute questioning. 

" You are thinking it is very strange that I 
should kiss him, but he looks so quiet, I 



106 

am not at all afraid. I have such a feeling as 
if I had seen that face before." 

She replaced the linen cloth, and without 
another word they both left the room. Mrs. 
Cromarty locked the door. She never mentioned 
to anyone the suspicion which had crossed her 
mind. She possessed in an eminent degree, 
when needful, the rare gift of silence ; but like 
Mary she kept this thing, and pondered it in her 
heart. 

When Alice got out into the Norlands road, 
the sunlight flashed upon something entangled 
in the fringes of her parasol. It was a tress 
of that golden hair which had lain on the little 
table in the kitchen. Alice would not throw it 
away. She wove it, as she walked along, into a 
little knot, a true lover's knot like the one 
Cuthbert had given her in a locket, not long 
ago. So for the second time that day, love and 
death came together in her thoughts. Then 
she folded it up in a broad leaf that she 
gathered from a sycamore-tree by the road-side, 
and put it into her pocket-book. It was such 
beautiful hair. 



107 



CHAPTER IX. 

KW|I||i HEY buried Douglas Ramsay in the 
uffiS a deserted churchyard of Upper Nor- 
mw^wwa lands, near by the Roman tower 
where the little coffin lay. The day after his 
death, Janet wrote to the housekeeper of Glen 
Ramsay, informing her of the accident. In the 
course of a few days the family solicitor came 
down from Perth. He had an interview with 
Miss Bruce and Mr. Piflet, visited the grave, 
and then returned into Scotland, carrying back 
with him the few valuables which were found 
on the body. The Glen Ramsay estate, which 
was entailed, passed to a distant member of 
the family. 



108 st. olave's. 

No one attended the funeral officially, except 
Mr. Piflet and the undertaker. There was the 
usual string, however, of ragged little children, 
slatternly women, and idle out-of-work men who 
had strayed down from St. Olave's to see the 
sight. From the narrow parapet of Norlands 
tower, two sad-hearted women in mourning 
watched it all; and when the last lingering by- 
stander had sauntered off, and the sexton 
shouldering his spade, was whistling homewards 
through the cornfields, they came down and 
stood for a long time side by side over the 
mound which was now the only memorial of 
him who had blasted both their lives. 

The veil was rent from between them that 
once so thickly covered all the past. No need 
now to shrink from the mention of it, lest a 
chance word should betray its sins or sorrows. 
Nay more, each had now a right to know what 
that past had been. Janet only had to tell of 
trust dishonoured, of promises broken, of a life 
shattered by grief, in which no fault of hers 
had been. For Mrs. Edenall, the story was 
darker. 

As they came home in the dreamy sunshine 



ST. olave's. 109 

of that July afternoon, she spoke of the old 
time, of her maiden home — she kept back its 
name though, and her own, too — of the first 
meeting with Douglas Ramsay, their wild, 
passionate love, his vows and promises, that 
midnight flight into Scotland, followed by the 
mock marriage. 

" I did not know it was false then. He gave 
me this," and she pointed to the ring which 
hung so loosely on her shrunk finger, "He 
gave me this, and I thought all was well. I 
had never been deceived before, Janet, I did 
not know what it meant," and something like 
a flash of scorn lighted up those great grey eyes, 
melting down into yearning tenderness as she 
turned and saw the black mould of Douglas 
Ramsay' s grave darkening the greensward of 
Norlands churchyard. " I love him still, though," 
she said quickly, as if even to remember his sin 
were a wrong, " I love him still. I never gave 
over loving him. I never take back what I give 
once." 

Then she told of those few brief stormy weeks 
of alternate love and jealousy at Bulach; his 
desertion, and her loneliness. After that, the 



110 ST. olave's. 

birth of her child, and the dreary journey back 
to the home she had disgraced. 

"Oh/' said Janet, "I did not know you 
were a mother," and she recalled Mrs. Edenall's 
face as she had once bent over that little 
coffin in the Norlands tower. 

" I am not, now ; my child is dead, and I shall 
not dare to look upon its face in heaven. Janet, 
we can never forget our sins, neither in this world 
nor the next. The stain of them may pass away, 
but their memory, never." 

" Tell me more," said Janet. 

" I could not bear to look upon my child, its 
baby fingers burned me, its innocent eyes killed 
me ; I tried to destroy it, and they put me into an 
asylum. I suppose I was mad, but I don't know. 
I think I was there a long time, and when I came 
out they told me my child was gone, dead ; 
Janet, I was so glad. I could not endure to look 
upon her. I hope she will not know me in heaven. 
I laughed and said it was better so. They thought 
I was mad still ; but it was only because I loved 
her so much ! Can you understand that, Janet ? 
Think what it is for a mother to give a child a life 
that is worse than death, a life that can never be 



ST. OLAVE'S. Ill 

anything else than a stain to her. Think if 
that girl, Alice, with her golden brown hair and 
her guileless face, wore a brand of shame that her 
mother had given her, that kept her back from love 
and home, and all that women care for — had she 
not better die ?" 

But Janet said nothing, and Mrs. Edenall went 
on — 

" My father and mother died too. They had no 
child but me, and I broke their hearts — a pleasant 
memory, is it not ? I could not stay in the house 
where I had been an innocent girl, so I wandered 
far off and lived where no one knew me, away 
amongst the Lakes. But visitors came there, and 
I was afraid ; so my solicitors advertised for a 
quiet home for a lady — a lady, Janet — and you 
took me in. 

"That is all. You see I have been a great 
sinner. Cast me from you if you choose ; it is no 
more than other people have done." 

Janet looked at her. Her face was very wan, 
but a mocking light gleamed and glittered in her 
strange eyes, the light of nickering reason. Yes, 
the poor brain had been all too rudely shaken. 
That death in life which is worse than death itself, 



112 

was surely nearing ; it was even now upon her. 
Suddenly she started forward with a fierce 
gesture, as though she would have sprung down 
the ravine. 

" This is the place !" she cried. 

It was, indeed. They went to Norlands by the 
fields, to avoid passing the landslip, but coming 
home again, Janet's thought were pre-occupied, 
and she had taken the turning which led to the 
ravine path. Just now the precipice gaped 
beneath them. All around, the earth was torn up 
by the tramp of horses' hoofs. Here and there 
branches were broken from the trees, and great 
clusters of bracken were rooted out and scattered 
along the rocks. 

Just that one smothered shriek, such as Douglas 
Eamsay might have uttered when his horse took 
that fearful leap, and Mrs. Edenall was calm 
again. 

" Don't go away/' she said. This is the spot 
where he fell. Let us sit down and feel it all." 

She sat down on the bank where they had all 
rested, the afternoon of the pic-nic, and leaned 
against the same tree which had kept her from 
death there. But neither of them spoke of that. 



113 

She smoothed the torn earth with her hands, from 
time to time loosening a pebble and watching it 
roll gently down the steep incline. 

"Yon see it is not very terrible," she said, 
"they go down so quietly. Janet, I wonld like 
to be there too and slip gently away to that river 
and to death. If only the good God would let ns 
die when dying is easier than living." 

By-and-by she took a little book out of her 
pocket and laid it on the sloping edge of the ravine. 
It began to glide down, but more slowly than the 
stone had done, for now and then a fern spray 
stopped it, or a tuft of blue-bells tangled it amongst 
their slender stems. She leaned forwards, far for- 
wards over the ravine to watch it down, so far that 
Janet feared some sudden fancy might win her to 
follow it. She held her dress tightly with both 
hands. 

" Janet," Mrs. Edenall muttered in a hoarse 
voice. 

" What is it ?" said Miss Bruce. 

"Look there," and she pointed to a ledge of 
rock some fifty feet below them. 

A stunted ash tree, gnarled and knotted, grew 
out from a rift in the rock. It was leafless as 

VOL. III. I 



114 

though blasted by some lightning flash. On one 
of its grey branches a curl of golden hair, his hair, 
gleamed in the sunshine ; and with every stray 
breeze that passed, a silken scarf of the Ramsay 
tartan fluttered to and fro. 

The sight of them turned Janet faint. " Come 
away," she said, feebly. " This is no place for 
us." 

But Mrs. Edenall looked steadily down. 

" I must have them," she said, as the ashen pale 
lips drew farther and farther back from her 
clenched teeth. " I will have them," and she set 
her feet down to climb the sharp rocks that jutted 
out beneath. 

Janet held her back by main force. Only to 
certain death could any, even the most surefooted, 
descend that gaping chasm. Mrs. Edenall struggled 
to get free, but she was very weak now ; Janet 
soothed her by promising that they should come 
again some time ; and then keeping fast hold of 
her arm, they set off towards the cottage. 

Mrs. Edenall spoke no more after that. Unre- 
sistingly enough she suffered Janet to lead her 
homewards. But as she paused again and again, 
and turned towards the spot where that tress of 



115 

golden hair shimmered in the sunshine, there was 
a set, determinate look in her face which thrilled 
Miss Bruce with a new and nameless fear. Janet re- 
solved as soon as they got back to Norlands to 
send for Dr Greenwood, and see if something 
could not be done to remove those dismal death 
trophies, not alone for the sickening horror which 
they had struck into her own heart, but because 
she knew that whilst they remained there, Mrs. 
EdenaU's life was scarce worth an hour's purchase. 
She reached home weary and anxious, filled 
with a new dread that was not altogether un- 
healthy for her, since it kept her from brooding 
upon the memories of the past few days. Poor 
Janet, it seemed as if her life were only given her 
to care for others, as if all of love and kindness 
that lay within her soul could only prove itself by 
suffering j suffering and patience, never anything 
else but these. 



i 2 



116 



CHAPTER X. 

§gKWH|BSHE terrible accident at Norlands caused 
'^▼AvilJs a g rea ^ commotion in St. Olave's. The 
^ KSSBS;HSSKac ^ local papers were full of it, and loud 
were the encomiums bestowed on Janet and Mrs. 
Edenall for the disinterested kindness with which 
they had tended the unfortunate sufferer. The 
old Cathedral city could afford to recognize the 
existence of Miss Bruce now. In a few days, 
however, the excitement died away. People no 
longer came over from St. Olave's to visit the 
scene of the accident. The gossip which had been 
so rife about the dead man's name, his position, 
his probable wealth, and so forth, wore itself out, 
and in less than a fortnight the whole affair had 



117 

ceased to be mentioned, except as a landmark for 
some other event which it kept in remem- 
brance. 

But the curl of golden hair and the Ramsay scarf 
fluttered still from the withered ash tree branch. 

Over and over again, attempts had been made 
to reach and bring them down. To descend from 
the Norlands side of the landslip was simply im- 
possible ; to climb up from the brink of the river 
below, equally so. Some had tried to sling them 
with a noose ; the deftest marksmen among the 
St. Olave's officers had fired at them from boats 
on the river or from stations along the edge of the 
ravine, but no shot had leave to reach its aim. 
Through hail and lightning storms, through beat- 
ing rain and driving wind they fluttered on still. 
It seemed as if some invisible Rispah kept watch 
over them and suffered neither heaven nor earth to 
blast these ghastly relics of the dead. 

Day after day wore on. Janet longed to be 
back again at Westwood, both for her own sake 
and that Mrs. Edenall might be sheltered from 
the terrible memories that belonged to Norlands. 
Tibbie was written to, and a time fixed for her 
return. As soon as she had got all ready, thoy 



118 



ST. OLAVE'S. 



would go back to the quiet little home, where, if 
they could not forget the past, its remembrance 
might not press so bitterly upon them. Janet 
grew more and more anxious about Mrs. Edenall. 
The terrible excitement of the last week or two, 
following so closely upon long weakness and ill- 
health, had been too much for her, and her mind 
was evidently giving way. Sometimes she was 
irritable and restless. For hours together she 
would pace up and down the long stone t passage 
that led from the kitchen to the sitting-rooms, 
muttering to herself in low impatient whispers. 
At such times, Janet never left her for a moment. 
More than once, before they had learned to un- 
derstand her ways, she had slipped out through 
the garden and got far away on the ravine path 
without being missed. 

Once, she had quite reached the landslip, and 
Mrs. Cromarty going in search of her had found 
her stooping far over its edge, her eyes fixed with 
keen, hungry, quivering gaze on the scarf that 
was floating to and fro far away beneath. 

At other times she was patient and passive, 
quiet as a little child. It seemed then as if all 
action or energy was quenched out of her nature. 



119 

Hour after hour she would lie on the sofa in the 
room where Douglas Ramsay died, twining one of 
her own long tresses of hair round and round her 
wan fingers, stroking it with a peaceful, 
patient smile, her lips moving all the while with 
unspoken words. 

Dr. Greenwood came to see her, and advised her 
speedy return to Westwood. If she could be 
kept perfectly quiet for a few weeks the malady 
might be warded off, but every day at Norlands, he 
said, was hastening the crisis and rendering it less 
likely that the balance of reason could be pre- 
served. 

At last, it was towards the end of July — Tibbie 
came home again, and the Westwood house was 
prepared for their return. It was the closing day 
of their visit to Norlands. For more than a week 
Mrs. Edenall had been very quiet, quiet and pas- 
sive. It seemed as if her excitement was gra- 
dually wearing away, and they hoped that years of 
peace might even yet be in store for her. Janet 
had been very busy most of the day, packing up 
their things ready for the return to Westwood 
next morning, and when all the preparations were 
completed she came down in her bonnet and clonk 



120 st. olave's. 

to accompany Mrs. Edenall to the little church- 
yard at Norlands. One more visit they were to 
pay, before that place, with all its memories and 
associations, came to be laid away amongst the 
things of the past. 

To her surprise the parlour was empty, so was 
Mrs. EdenalFs bedroom. Then she went into the 
kitchen. Mrs Cromarty was sitting reading in 
the trellised doorway that led out into the yard 
behind the house. She had seen Mrs. Edenall 
scarce half-an-hour before, walking quietly back- 
wards and forwards in the orchard path. Janet 
sought her there, but no one answered to her call. 
She went back again into the parlour and waited 
for nearly an hour, listening for the tread of foot- 
steps upon the gravel walk. None came. Then, 
with a chill sickening sense of danger at hand, 
she set off down the ravine path to Norlands. 

She reached the landslip without meeting a 
creature. All was very still and peaceful. The 
sunlight lay in golden strips upon the yellowing 
corn-fields and crept in and out through the dark- 
ening glades of the fir-tree plantation which stretch- 
ed away to the northern uplands. Very greyly upon 
the deepening eastern sky rose the rugged outline 



ST. olave's. 121 

of the Roman tower ; with a soft musical ripple the 
river Luthen gushed below, swaying the tall flag 
leaves as it went, and singing the white water- 
lilies to sleep upon its breast. 

For awhile Janet paused, lulled into forgetful- 
ness by the quiet beauty of the place. Ere she 
turned to go away, she leaned over the ravine for 
a last look at the death relics below. Perhaps it 
might be long before she saw them again. Steady- 
ing herself against the birch stem that grew upon 
the brink, she bent carefully forward. 

There were the rifted rocks jutting out amongst 
the fern and brushwood, there the smooth earthy 
slope that shelved away down to the river below 
and browned the whiteness of its foam, there the 
lightning-blasted ash tree stretching out its lean and 
wrinkled arms ; but the curl of hair and the tar- 
tan scarf were gone, both gone. And clinging to a 
tuft of gorse close by, fluttered a tiny shred of 
black crape, which as Janet watched it was seized 
by the wind and borne aloft out of sight. 

Chilled by a suspicion no longer vague or 
formless, she turned back towards the cottage, 
not even pausing as she passed the lonely spot 
where Douglas Ramsay's grave was greening in the 



122 st. olave's. 

sunshine. As she neared the narrow path which 
led to the cottage garden, the clamour of voices 
smote upon her ear, and she noticed how the long 
meadow-grass by the hedge-side was bruised by 
the tramping of many feet. She pressed on half 
paralyzed with dread. A crowd of people had 
gathered round the parlour window, trying to peer 
through, the crevices of the closed blinds. More 
were clustering round the entrance, some with 
vaguely curious, some with awe-struck faces. As 
Janet came forwards, they hushed their whisper- 
ing and made a way for her to pass. The parlour 
door was closed and Mrs. Cromarty stood by it as 
if to prevent anyone from entering unawares. 

"Tin feared you'll be very much shocked, 
Miss Bruce," she began, as Janet came forward. 

" I know it all," said Janet, ' l let me go in." 

Mrs. Cromarty opened the door and went in 
with her, locking it inside to keep out the more 
curious of the bystanders who were making their 
way into the house. 

Once more the mattresses which gave Douglas 
Ramsay his death-couch had been brought down, 
and upon these lay Mrs. Edenall, dead, quite dead ; 
one glance at the ashy stiffening face told that. 



st. olave's. 123 

There was not awound or a bruise upon herthat they 
could see, but the position of the head, violently 
twisted back on one side, showed how and where 
she had found her death. The right hand was 
clenched over the lock of hair and the scarf, so 
tightly clenched that no force of theirs could open 
it. No cramp of pain distorted her face. Instead, 
there was a grand sweet smile of triumph just part- 
ing the lips, and smoothing into child-like calm- 
ness the low broad forehead. She could not have 
suffered much. Even as she grasped those 
coveted treasures the death-stroke must have come 
and fixed for ever upon her features the smile 
which the prize had given. 

Mrs. Cromarty stood at the foot of the mattrass, 
her bosom heaving with suppressed emotion ; 
shadows now of sorrow and now of stern pitiless 
indignation, darkening her swarthy face. 

"Poor lady," she said, "it's a rough carrying 
on she's had this long time past. The Lord send 
that she shall have rest and quiet at last, for she 
was more sinned against than sinning/'' 

Janet looked sharply up. Their eyes met, Mrs. 
Cromarty's veiled with unshed tears. 

" I knew her, ma'am; I wouldn't say it while 



124 st. olave's. 

she was living, for it's small need there is to cast a 
poor body's sins in her face so long as she's a 
chance to mend ; but she's gone now, and, ma'am, 
if I dont tell yon, there's other folks '11 find it out 
afore long. I lived maid with her when she was a 
young leddy as bright and stainless as Miss Alice, 
and indeed, ma'am, them two mind me of each 
other." 

Mrs. Cromarty waited for Miss Bruce to notice 
this last remark ; she did so. 

" Ah ! Alice reminded you of Mrs. Edenall. I 
have been struck sometimes by a resemblance. Of 
course it is nothing. Alice has never hinted that 
Mistress Amiel Grey was even distantly connected 
with the family of Mrs. Edenall." 

" No, ma'am, she has not. I was telling you I 
had lived maid with this lady. Her name was 
Brandon, Marian Brandon. Him as lies up yon- 
der," and Mrs. Cromarty pointed towards Nor- 
lands, "ruined her, and she broke her father's 
heart." 

" You had better not mention this, Mrs. Cro- 
marty. It is not suspected in St. Olave's." 

" No, ma'am, and if I can help it, it never shall. 
I've oft matched Mrs. Edenall and Marian Bran- 



125 

don in my own mind, but I never knowed 'em for 
the same while that day when I seed her bending 
over Mr. Ramsay and pouring out her kisses on 
his false face. He was one of the devil's own men, 
ma'am, was Douglas Ramsay, for all his face was 
fair to look upon." 

" Hush, Mrs. Cromarty, we will not speak ill of 
the dead. He is gone now, and has carried all his 
sins into the presence of One who is sometimes 
more merciful than we are." 

" You're in the right of it, ma'am, and I hope 
the Lord will forgive me if I've been more bitter 
on him than I ought to. But it freezes the 
charity out of one's soul, ma'am, to see a man 
deceive a young innocent girl, and turn her into 
a poor lorn creature like this ; here and he walks 
God Almighty's earth with never a smirch on his 
brow, or a blush on his cheek. Ma'am, I were 
sore pressed to feel ought but glad when I was 
tending Mr. Ramsay's corpse, and knew him 
for the same as had ruined my young mistress." 

Just then Colin opened the door and said that 
Dr. Greenwood was waiting. 

He could do nothing but examine the body, 
and pronounce with certainty upon the nature of 



126 st. olave's. 

the injury. An inquest was held next day, and a 
verdict of " accidental death " returned. The 
jury were of opinion that Mrs. Edenall had been 
walking too near the verge of the landslip, and 
losing her balance had fallen over. Also, that in 
her terror she had caught at the scarf to save 
herself from sliding down, and so loosened it and 
the tress of hair from the tree. Appended to this 
verdict was a recommendation that the City Com- 
missioners should wall up the landslip, and prohibit 
the ravine path from public use. 

Janet had other thoughts, though she never 
mentioned them. She guessed only too surely 
how the poor heart-broken creature had wandered 
there, and with the desperate daring of madness 
scaled the rocks step by step until the coveted 
prize was snatched ; then, yielding to the mania 
which was at times so strong upon her, she had 
suffered herself to slide down the smooth, un- 
broken slope to certain death. But the reading 
public of St. Olave's endorsed the verdict of the 
jury, and nothing further was said. 

This accident, following so closely upon the 
other, caused great commotion amongst the people, 
that is, the middle and lower classes of the com- 



127 

munity. But another event, much more note- 
worthy than the death of a comparative stranger, 
was just now transpiring in the midst of the 
goodly fellowship of the Close families, and to this 
we must turn. 



128 




CHAPTER XI. 

jINCE Mistress Amiel Grey's death, 
everything at the Old Lodge had been 
conducted in its usual style. Indeed 
she had been so long withdrawn from the super- 
intendence of her own household, that her removal 
could make but little real difference. Miss 
Luckie conducted the establishment with admi- 
rable energy and precision, whilst Mrs. Archdeacon 
Scrymgeour acted as chaperone in general to 
Alice, who was rapidly growing into a very 
charming woman, quite equal, Mrs. Scrymgeour 
proudly affirmed, to the exalted position she would 
so soon be called to assume. 

The wedding was drawing very near. Cuth- 



129 

bert became daily more assiduous in his atten- 
tions. He loaded her with trifling little pre- 
sents, offered with such exquisite tact and grace- 
fulness, that Alice felt overpowered with grati- 
tude j and had her dowry been counted by 
millions instead of thousands, it would have 
seemed to her innocent heart all too small to 
bring in exchange for the unfailing caresses and 
honeyed compliments which her betrothed lavished 
upon her with such open-handed profusion. 

Already coming events cast their shadows 
before, in the shape of elaborate pieces of fancy 
work, which arrived at the Old Lodge from 
such of the Close families as were sufficiently 
intimate to offer Wedding presents. The Bishop's 
lady had prepared a service of plate as a nuptial 
gift, and the costly articles were already repo- 
sing in that lady's boudoir, prior to being sent to 
the Old Lodge the night before the marriage. 
Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour was just completing 
a magnificent banner screen of white satin, as her 
contribution to Grassthorpe Rectory, but as this 
article of furniture will make its appearance before 
the reader on a future occasion, it shall not be 
minutely described at present. For three \ 

VOL. III. K 



ISO 

past, the liead milliner's rooms in High Street 
had been strewn with white tulle, dress lengths of 
silk, bouquets, wreaths, and ribbons; and day 
after day added fresh treasures to the store of 
exquisitely embroidered linen and silken-fine 
damask which was accumulating on Alice's 
behalf in the carved oak presses of the Old 
Lodge. 

All was in readiness now for the arrival of 
Captain Clay, who was expected to act as guardian 
to the bride-elect. As soon as he came, the 
settlements were to be made, and the wedding-day 
fixed, and a few other little outstanding matters 
finally arranged. 

Captain Clay had been abroad with his regi- 
ment nearly twenty years. During the whole of 
that time he had held no communication with 
Mistress Amiel Grey, beyond an occasional news- 
paper which had passed between them. He had 
seen the intelligence of her death in the "Ti?nes," 
and that hastened his journey home. He came 
by the overland route, for greater speed, and 
embarked at Marseilles in the " Erebus," which 
anchored oif Southampton on the twenty-fifth of 
July, the day of Mrs. EdenalFs death. He 



131 

started at once to St. Olave's, and in the even- 
ing of the succeeding day, Lettice ushered into 
the oriel room of the Old Lodge a sunburnt 
stranger, tall, and of soldier-like aspect. 

He presented his card to Miss Luckie, who 
generally took the initiative in matters of 
hospitality. Her pretty little white satin cap 
ribbons fluttered with pleasurable excitement as 
she laid down her knitting and rose to receive 
him. 

" Captain Clay, of the Lancers, lately serving 
in India, I presume." 

The Captain bowed assent. 

"We are most happy to see you. Indepen- 
dently of the auspicious event which your arrival 
heralds, any connection of Mistress Amiel Grey's 
is sure of a hearty welcome to the Old Lodge. 
Allow me to introduce you to Miss Alice Grey, 
niece of the late Mrs. Grey." 

Captain Clay acknowledged the introduction 
with a somewhat perplexed expression of counte- 
nance, and withheld the cousinly greeting which 
Miss Luckie imagined he would have offered to the 
blushing girl before him. But then they had 
never met before, and he might not be prepared 

k :l 



132 

for such a vision of beauty. Alice had lost but 
little of her old shyness in the presence of strangers, 
and slipped quietly out of the room as soon as the 
formidable introduction was fairly over. 

" Did I understand you rightly, that the young 
lady who has left the room is the niece of Mrs. 
Amiel Grey V said the Captain, seating himself 
on one of the softly- cushioned lounges. 

" Perfectly so," replied Miss Luckie. " You 
have been absent many years and are not aware, 
I suppose, that from infancy Miss Alice has been 
brought up by her aunt, to whom she was most 
devotedly attached. Indeed, she was Mrs. Grey's 
only comfort during the later years of her life." 

" It is twenty years since I set foot in England, 
and I imagine many changes must have taken 
place in the interval. Am I correct in supposing 
that this is the Old Lodge, formerly used as a re- 
sidence by the Canons of St. Olave's Cathedral, 
and that the lady recently deceased is the widow 
of the late Dean Grey ?" 

" Certainly, sir ; you are quite correct in all the 
particulars you have named," said Miss Luckie, 
who began to think that the visitor had left his 
intellects in the Punjaub, and was not likely to 



st. olave's. 133 

prove much of an acquisition to poor Alice. He 
was so exceedingly cold and unsympathetic in his 
manner. 

"Then, madam/' he continued stiffly, "there 
must be a mistake somewhere. My cousin, Mrs. 
Amiel Grey, was the only child of Sir Ralph 
Grisby, of Runnington, in Kent, and the late Dean 
Grey, her husband, was also an only child. I am 
perplexed, therefore, as to the relationship assumed 
by the young lady to whom you have done me the 
honour of introducing me." 

So was Miss Luckie, now. It was an awkward 
circumstance, a very awkward circumstance. Still 
she had no doubt it would be properly cleared up. 
Alice's relationship to Mrs. Grey was an un- 
doubted fact ; of that there could be no question. 
Had it not been patent to the world for the last 
eighteen years, during which time not a whisper 
had been breathed to the contrary ? But whilst 
she was turning the affair over in her own mind, 
the Captain continued — 

" In fact, madam — excuse me, but I have not 
the pleasure of knowing your name." 

"I am Miss Luckie, only surviving daughter 
of the late Major Luckie of the Forty-seventh." 



134 

Captain Clay bowed with military precision. 

' ' In fact, Miss Luckie, when I read the account 
of my cousin's death in the ' Times/ I hastened my 
journey from India, in order that before any diffi- 
culties should have arisen, I might lay before the 
legal advisers of Mrs. Grey, my claims as heir-at- 
law. I have brought certain documents with me," 
here Captain Clay produced from the breast of 
his coat a packet of suspicious-looking blue papers, 
" and my solicitor in town holds himself in readi- 
ness to support my claims should any dispute arise. 
Such dispute, however, is not likely to take place, 
since I believe I am correct in representing my- 
self as the sole surviving relative of Mistress Amiel 
Grey." 

Miss Luckie twitched nervously at her knitting- 
needles. The affair was growing serious. Still 
the worst result that suggested itself to her ima- 
gination, was, that this unwelcome interloper might 
secure to himself a small portion of the estate. 
The bare idea of his claiming the whole of it was 
too enormous to be entertained for a moment. 
At last, she thought it would be better to turn the 
stranger over to Cuthbert Scrymgeour's manage- 
ment. He would hold his own at any rate, no 



135 

fear of tliat. So, after a little consideration, dur- 
ing which Captain Clay had been criticizing the 
fine oak furniture and choice paintings of the 
oriel room, she began again — 

cc I am not in a position to enter upon this sub- 
ject with you, at present, having only lately be- 
come a resident in the family. Since the stroke 
which preceded Mrs. Grey's death, and which 
entirely precluded her from the active manage- 
ment of her own affairs, I have resided with Miss 
Alice as companion and protector. Of all private 
family affairs connected with the Old Lodge, I am 
quite ignorant. Perhaps you are not aware that 
Miss Alice contemplates marriage ?" 

Captain Clay was not, and signified the same. 
" She has been engaged for some months to a 
clergyman in this neighbourhood. Indeed, the 
ceremony has only been delayed until such time 
as you could arrive and agree upon the settlements 
to be made/'' 

" I am happy to congratulate Miss Alice upon 
her prospects," replied the Captain. " My claims as 
Mrs. Grey's heir-at-law may possibly interfere with 
the proposed settlements, but I trust they will in no 
other way affect the young lady's happiness." 



136 st. olave's. 

Miss Luckie was not quite so sure of that, but 
she preferred not venturing upon the subject, and 
recommended an interview with Mr. Scrymgeour, 
who was expected from Grassthorpe that evening. 

lt In the meantime, Captain Clay, I trust you 
will remain with us for the night." 

He smiled inwardly at the notion of being in- 
vited to take a bed in his own house, but accepted 
the offer as it was made, in perfect politeness. And 
so the ominous tete-a-tete terminated. 

Meanwhile Alice had strolled into the drawing- 
room, her little heart all in a flutter at the sudden 
arrival of Captain Clay, and the important event 
of which that arrival was the harbinger. The 
ormolu clock on the marble bracket was just upon 
the stroke of seven. Cuthbert could not possibly 
arrive before eight, and the time until he came 
appeared so long. She sat down at the window 
that looked into the Close, and amused herself for 
some time by watching the groups of smartly- 
dressed tradesmen's wives that were sauntering 
about after their day's work was over. By-and-by 
the bells began to ring, jangling out with confused 
resonant clang from the old grey belfry tower. It 
was the weekly practising night. The sound of 



137 

them turned her thoughts back to that evening, 
now nearly five months ago, when she and David 
Bruce had watched Aunt Amiel die. Then, farther 
and farther back they drifted to that other evening, 
when Janet had come to tea and they had be- 
guiled the time by turning over the contents of 
the old cabinet that stood in the deep recess be- 
tween the windows. 

It stood there yet, just in the same place. 
Things were rarely shifted out of their places at 
the Old Lodge. 

To wile away a little more of the time until 
Cuthbert came, she bethought herself of turning 
it out again. She went upstairs to get the key 
from the jewel case, and then drawing the quaint 
old-fashioned piece of furniture in front of the 
sofa, she opened it. Just within the lid lay the 
manuscript which Aunt Amiel had placed there 
the day of her illness. It bore the superscrip- 
tion : — 

" To my foster child, Alice. To be read after my death." 

That brought the quick tears to Alice's eyes ; 
and for awhile she buried her face in her hands 
whilst a rush of tender memories swept over her. 
But she soon recovered herself, and breaking the 



138 st. olave's. 

many seals which secured the outer cover, she 
began to read. As she opened the packet, a little 
old yellow note fell out ; this she put back again 
into the cabinet, thinking it had got in by mistake. 

She read it slowly, pausing often with the 
perplexed look of one who is working out some 
difficult problem. But, however perplexed she 
might be, no shade of sadness came over her fair 
young face. Not a thought crossed her mind 
that anything written there could shake his truth, 
or dim his love for her. She had never learned 
yet to doubt the faith of any human being. 

She was yet reading, when the door opened, and 
Cuthbert Scrymgeour stole quietly in. His foot- 
fall was very gentle, and she did not hear him 
until he came behind her and laid his hand 
upon her shoulder. Then she turned quickly 
round. He pressed a kiss, another and yet another, 
upon the flushed face upturned in glad surprise to 
him. 

" Sit by me, will you," she said, nestling up to 
him in her pretty caressing way ; and she made 
room for him on the sofa. 

He passed his fingers — those beautiful white 
fingers — lightly over her forehead. 



st. olave's. 139 

u What is my little pet knitting her brow over? 
Is she beginning to study mathematics or the 
square root, or is it a new crochet pattern, a 
cover for my study chair at Grassthorpe, 
Alice?" 

Oh, how musical that voice was ; how far above 
singing its dainty love-modulated tones ! Alice 
blushed to the tips of her little fingers. 

" No, Cuthbert, it's a letter from Aunt Amiel 
that I've just found in this old cabinet, and I can't 
make it out ; it seems so strange/' 

« Does it ? Well, I'll try if I can help you to 
make sense of it. Alice, there's a portmanteau 
in the hall ; who does it belong to ?" 

" Captain Clay," Alice faltered out. " He has 
just come." 

Cuthbert bent his head over her. Their eyes 
met, and once more the rosy flood mounted to 
cheek and brow. She was going to start away 
from him, but he put his arm round her and kept 
her there. 

" No, little lady -bird, I shall not let you fly away 
just yet. Fold up those pretty wings now, and 
let us see what we can bring out of this ugly old 
letter." 



140 st. olave's. 

He made her sit down again beside him, his 
arm still round her; and they began to read 
the letter. Perhaps we had better do so too. 



141 



CHAPTER XIL 



f3! 



WWWWWWWi 



j Y dear Alices— The time has now- 
come when it is needful for you to 
be put in possession of certain facts 
which have hitherto been carefully concealed from 
you. 

" Whilst you were a child, it was useless to 
give you information which could then have no 
meaning for you. But now that womanhood is 
bringing with it graver responsibilities, and you 
may soon become a wife— * — ■■" 



Alice glanced shyly up to Cuthbert, and nestled 
her little hand into his. He held it in a clasp — 
well, somewhat slighter than might have been 
given five minutes ago, and a thought crossed his 
mind that it would have been much better if Mis- 
tress Amiel Grey had made her will before that 



142 

unlucky stroke came. But the Scrymgeours were 
always remarkable for caution. They went on read- 
ing :— 

"It is my duty to tell you somewhat of your 
previous history and parentage. You may have 
heard me say that the late Dean Grey had con- 
nections in Scotland. A few years after our 
marriage, which is now more than fifty years ago, 
I accompanied him on a visit to his friends, and 
remained some months in the neighbourhood of 
Perth. Part of the time was spent with the 
Ramsays, of Glen Ramsay, between whom and 
my late husband a strong attachment existed. 
Their eldest son, then a little fellow of five years 
old, was a great favourite of mine. He was a beau- 
tiful little boy with sparkling blue eyes, and the 
peculiar golden hair which is rarely found except 
in Scotland. But he was very much spoilt, and 
I discerned in him, even then, seeds of passions 
which might afterwards ripen into very bitter 
results, not only for himself, but those in any way 
connected with him. And so it afterwards proved. " 

" Stay Alice, you are pressing on my arm." 
She leaned forward for a moment, and Cuthbert 
took his arm away. He did not give her the sup- 



143 

port of it any more that night. But her hand was 
in his still. 

' ' I lost sight of him for many years, and when 
next I heard of him he had formed an engagement 
with a most estimable young lady, whose name I 
forget. I remember, however, that she resided 
near Perth. I believe also that she belonged to 
a good but not very wealthy family. 

" Some years after — it is about eighteen years ago 
now — I was staying in my native county, Kent, 
at Brandon Hall. At that time Colonel and Mrs. 
Brandon were in deep affliction. Their only child, 
a lovely and most elegant girl, had just been in- 
veigled into a clandestine flight with a stranger 
to whom Colonel Brandon had shown hospitality. 
She had then been absent from them nearly six 
months, during which time they had heard no 
tidings of her. I found to my inexpressible grief 
and indignation that the wretch for whom she had 
thus quitted the shelter of her parents' roof was 
this Douglas Ramsay, my former little child friend. 
I was the more grieved for the great sorrow which 
I knew his conduct must have caused to the young 
lady in Scotland, with whose affections he had so 
basely trifled. 



144 

u Mrs. Brandon was in very delicate health at the 
time I visited them. The conduct of her child 
had greatly distressed her, and shortly after I left 
she died. Colonel Brandon never recovered her loss. 
They were most devotedly attached, and this was 
the first blight that had fallen upon their domestic 
happiness. I never saw Marian Brandon^ but I 
have heard that she was a splendid girl, tall, dis- 
tinguished, most regal in her bearing, but of an 
imperious disposition and passionate to a fault. 
Not many weeks after my return to the Old Lodge, 
she came home, deserted by the man for whom 
she had given Up name and fame and all that a 
woman holds dear. Mr. Ramsay deceived her by 
a mock mariage. At least I believe the marriage 
Was legal, but he purposely destroyed the lines, 
and so rendered it impossible for her to prove her- 
self his wife, there being no witnesses of the 
ceremony except the party who performed it, and 
he is long since dead. 

" Marian Brandon found her father at the point 
of death. She returned home in time to close his 
eyes, but not to receive his forgiveness ; for the 
Colonel, though kind, was a stern man and firm to 
obstinacy in his prejudices* After his death, she 



st. olave's. 145 

gave birth to a child. Then, worn out with the 
grief and anxiety through which she had passed, 
her mind gave way, and for some months she was 
under restraint. On her recovery, feeling that 
she had too far disgraced herself ever to return to 
the society in which she had once moved, and being 
utterly disowned by her relatives, she left the 
neighbourhood and has never been heard of since. 
I imagine she is dead, or possibly living a life of 
shame. 

" My heart was touched for the child thus left 
friendless and dependent, and having no family of 
my own, I offered to adopt it, on condition that it 
should be given into my sole charge, and that its 
parents should at no future time claim any control 
over it. These conditions were complied with, 
and a little more than seventeen years ago, the 
helpless infant came under my roof. 

" Alice, you are that child. Since then, I have 
cared for and tended you as my own. I have en- 
deavoured to give you all the advantages of my own 
position, and to remove as far as possible the stain 
which was fixed upon your birth. From the first, 
it was understood in St. Olave's, and I have suffered 
the impression to exist, that you were a niece of 

VOL. III. • L 



146 st. olave's. 

mine, left orphaned and unprotected. Hitherto it 
has been of no moment that this idea should be 
removed. It is now due, however, to the indivi- 
dual who may afterwards become your husband, 
that the circumstances of your parentage should 
be revealed. 

"I have just had an interview with Mr. Cuthbert 
Scrymgeour, in which he seeks you as his wife. 

" I was not prepared to lose you so soon after 
your entrance into society. I have no right, how- 
ever, to retain you longer with me, nor would my 
affection permit me for one moment to prevent you 
from forming a connection which is likely to ad- 
vance your real happiness. Mr. Scrymgeour's 
proposal has taken me by surprise. I cannot at 
once decide on the best course to pursue. He will 
come to me again to-morrow to receive my final 
answer. Then I shall explain to him the circum- 
stances which I have now detailed to you. Should 
they influence him against the marriage, I have no 
doubt that as a man of honour he will hold them 
strictly private. Should he, as I believe he will, 
prize his love more dearly than any scruples of 
rank or position, you will learn the particulars 
of your history from his own lips at some future 
time. 



st. olave's. 147 

" Knowing, however, how uncertain life is, and 
feeling the infirmities of age stealing rapidly upon 
me, I have judged it well to write this explanation. 
I shall also send for my solicitor again tomorrow, 
— I summoned him last week, but he was from 
home— to make arrangements as regards my pro- 
perty, of which I intend to leave you sole heiress. 
The circumstances of your birth render you void 
in law, and, therefore, without this precaution 
you might be left at my decease entirely unpro- 
vided for." 

" And this will hasn't turned up, Alice." 

1 1 No, Cuthbert," said Alice, in her unsuspecting 
innocence. "You know poor Aunt Amiel was 
taken with the stroke the very day she wrote this, 
and she was never able to attend to anything 
again." 

' f Confound it ! so she was. What a fool I 
have been ! Well, go on, Alice." 

Alice looked quietly up into his face. 

" You are not angry with me,' are you, Cuth- 
bert ? Have I said anything wrong ? " 

"No, no, child ; just go on as I tell you. It's 
desperately hot in this room ; I declare I'm half 
smothered : don't sit quite so close to me." 

l 2 



148 

He edged himself away from her, and dropped 
the hand which until then he had held in his. 

" Let us get the thing finished/'' he said, im- 
patiently. 

"By placing my property in your hands, I 
shall do no wrong to any of my own family. 
I have outlived all my relatives save one, my 
cousin, Captain Clav. We never held much in- 
tercourse with each other, and, for the last 
twenty years, he has been serving with his regi- 
ment in India. He is, besides, a man of 
considerable private fortune, and therefore not 
dependent on anything he might receive from 
me. 

' c When you were sent to me, seventeen years 
ago, there came, with the rest of your clothing, 
a Venetian head ornament, a cordon of pearls, 
brought from Italy by one of the Brandon family, 
who was formerly Consul at Venice. You wore 
it at Chapter Court last night. It is the only 
memento you possess of your mother, and I 
should like you to take care of it. She erred 
very deeply, but she is your mother still. 

" I do not know that I need add anything 
further to this letter. I may have been mistaken 



st olave's. 149 

in keeping you and my St. Olave's friends so long 
ignorant of the circumstances it discloses. How- 
ever that may be, it is too late to remedy the 
evil, except as I have now done. May God bless 
you, Alice ! You have always been tender and 
true to me. Great has been my delight in you. 
Should Cuthbert Scrymgeour become your hus- 
band, I trust he will find the wife bear out the 
character of the child. Should the facts I shall 
relate to him in the morning influence him to 
withdraw from his proposal, I shall still rejoice 
that Providence spares you to me a little longer. 
" Your affectionate foster-mother, 

" Amiel Grey." 



150 




CHAPTER XIII. 

k HAT does it mean, Cuthbert ? " said 
j Alice, when the letter was finished, 
a " I don't seem to understand it 
at all." 

" It means this, Alice, that you are no niece of 
Mistress Amiel Grey's, but an illegitimate cliild 
of a woman named Marian Brandon; and that, 
in consequence of your aunt having died intes- 
tate " 

« Died in what, Cuthbert ? » 
" Died without a will ; the whole of the pro- 
perty goes to the heir-at-law, this Captain Clay, 
who, it seems, has come to put in his claim to it." 
" You are not going, Cuthbert, are you? " said 



ST. olave's. 151 

Alice, as lie threw the paper on the table and 
began to pace the room impatiently. Her face 
was full of bewilderment, but there was no fear 
in it. 

" Going ! why, I suppose I can't do anything 
else much. I don't exactly see how I can stop 
here philandering, when that fellow Clay is walk- 
ing off with the house and all it contains." 

"But, Cuthbert, he is not going to walk off 
with me." 

" You're a little goose, Alice," said the B.A., 
coming up to her in spite of himself, and pressing 
a hasty kiss on her cheek. " But I must be off, 
and see what the man's after." 

" Come back to me soon, then j don't be long, 
Cuthbert ; it is so dull without you." 

Alice could not catch his answer, as he strode 
hastily out of the room. But she was content. 
He was not vexed with her ; he had called her a 
little goose, and she was quite sure he would not 
have done that if he had been angry. So she 
sat down on the sofa again, and waited patiently 
until such time as it should please her lord and 
master elect to return. 

" A pretty mess ! " said Cuthbert Scrymgcour 



152 

to himself, as lie crossed the hall to the oriel 
room. " What a lucky chance it is the affair 
didn't happen a month later ! I suppose I 
couldn't have backed out of it then, and it won't 
be the pleasantest thing in the world having it to 
do now." 

He knocked at the door ; there was no answer. 
Then he went in ; the room was empty. Miss 
Luckie had gone out to give orders about supper 
and sleeping accommodation, and, as he strolled 
through the room to the half-open glass door, 
Cuthbert saw Captain Clay sauntering up and 
down the garden, smoking a cigar with the easy, 
self-possessed air of a man who knows the world 
is going the right way for him. 

" Insufferable fellow ! " muttered the amiable 
divine ; and then, instead of going back to Alice, 
he took up his hat and set off to Chapter Court, 
for the purpose of consulting his aunt on the 
awkward aspect of affairs. 

Cuthbert Scrymgeour's affections were made to 
match his mind — of the delicate spring annual 
kind, planted or pulled up at a moment's notice. 
Perhaps, also, the frequent falling of their leaves 
enriched the ground after a fashion, and prepared 



153 

it for a fresh crop. The halo of fascination which 
had shrined Alice Grey, cleared off in a twinkling; 
she was a very ordinary mortal now. And then 
he began to condole with himself. He had been 
grossly deceived, no one conld deny that; made 
the dupe of a pretty face and false expectations, 
very nearly inveigled into uniting himself — his 
splendid person, his unblemished pedigree, his 
social status, his melodious voice — with a penni- 
less dependant, a girl who had not even a name 
to call her own. How providential that the 
eclair cis sement happened just when it did ! that 
the Scrymgeour family had escaped such a bar- 
sinister on its quartering. Mr. Scrymgeour was 
lost in thanksgiving. 

He was awakened from this mental reverie of 
praise by stumbling suddenly upon the iron palisad- 
ings of Chapter Court. He opened the heavy 
oaken door with his latch key/ and went into the 
dining-room. No one was there, so he rang the 
bell, and desired the waiting-maid to inform her 
mistress of his presence. As he paced the long 
stately room in silence and alone, the thought of 
Blanche Egerton floated through his mind. 
Blanche, with her millionaire grandsire, her 



154- st. olave's. 

dreamy eyes, her bland, delicious dignity, her 
centuries of Norman blood, her well attested 
baptismal register and armorial bearings. Cuth- 
bert' s mind was made up. 

The Archdeacon's widow counselled pru- 
dence. 

" Prudence, my dear Cuthbert, prudence. Do 
nothing rashly. Beware of committing yourself 
before the claims of this Captain Clay are 
recognized by law. At all events a legal consul- 
tation must be held before any steps can be taken 
towards dispossessing Alice of her property. If 
it is satisfactorily ascertained that such a stain as 
you have mentioned rests upon her parentage, 
withdraw from the connection. I give you my 
fullest sanction to such a step. I waive pecuniary 
considerations, Cuthbert ; my mind rises superior 
to them, but the Scrymgeour name shall never be 
tarnished by contact with ignoble blood." 

And then the Archdeacon's widow, who disap- 
proved of excitability, smoothed down the folds of 
her moire antique, and leaned back in her velvet 
cushioned chair, the incarnation of ecclesiastical 
dignity. 

Captain Clay was prepared for opposition. He 



ST. olave's. 155 

despatched a telegraphic message to town, and by- 
ten o'clock next morning his legal adviser arrived 
at the Old Lodge, bringing the necessary docu- 
ments. Mrs. Grey's man of business was also 
summoned. A lengthy consultation took place 
between them in the presence of Miss Luckie and 
Cuthbert Scrymgeour. The claims of Captain 
Clay were proved to be correct. He was indeed 
the heir-at-law, and, as such, entitled to the sole 
possession of the Old Lodge, the estate at Nor- 
lands, with the property in High Street, held by 
leasehold from the Dean and Chapter. The close 
of the all-important conference left Alice a beggar, 
absolutely penniless, and dependent for bread 
and lodging on a man upon whom she had not 
the slightest claim. 

When all was over, Cuthbert, without waiting 
for an interview with his betrothed, went off to 
communicate the result to Mrs. Scrymgeour, at 
Chapter Court. Miss Luckie undertook to inform 
Alice of her altered position. 

And indeed the kind-hearted little maiden-lady 
herself shared in the general wreck, for she had 
relinquished her claim upon the apartments in 
the Low Gardens, together with the little annuity 



156 st. olave's. 

pertaining thereto ; and her sole subsistence now 
was derived from her stipend as manager- general 
at the Old Lodge. So that her future was almost 
as dark as Alice's, except that she had influential 
friends in the city, who would exert themselves to 
place her in a position of comfort equal to that 
which she had given up to attend upon Mrs. 
Grey. 

As for Alice, she scarcely seemed as yet to 
realize her situation. She had not seen Cuthbert 
since the previous evening, when he had quitted 
her so abruptly. She had a vague notion of 
some money loss connected with the sudden 
appearance of Captain Clay, but that this loss, 
even if it did come to pass, could in any way 
affect Cuthbert's feelings towards her, was a 
result which she never for one moment suspected. 
Had Mr. Scrymgeour been dislodged from his 
preferment at a moment's notice, Alice would 
have loved him all the same. It would not have 
entered her mind that in doing this she was acting 
the heroine, or displaying any extraordinary 
amount of affection. And so, in the calm con- 
sciousness of a faithful heart, she waited patiently 
for him to come and tell her that all w T as well. 



ST. OLAVE S. 157 

A little goose, was she not ? — just as Cuthbert 
had said, when he gave her that farewell kiss last 
night. But remember, she was not yet nineteen, 
and had lived all her life with a guileless, un- 
suspecting old lady, who had tried very hard to 
teach her the golden rule of doing as she would be 
done by. And succeeded too ; nay, more than 
this, the little goose — I am afraid, as the world 
goes now, we cannot call her anything but a 
goose — had got the notion that every one else 
acted on the same principle, and would mete 
into her bosom the same overflowing measure 
which she was so ready to give. Poor little 
Alice ! 

The oriel room had been monopolized all day 
for the legal consultation, so after luncheon she 
stole away to her own little sanctum, the cozy 
study on the west side of the hall, where that 
first memorable interview with Cuthbert Scrym- 
geour had been held. 

Thither in due time Miss Luckie came, 
bearing tidings of the poverty that had overtaken 
them. 

" My dear child," said the compassionate little 
lady, u all is lost. The house, furniture, property, 



158 st. olave's. 

everything belongs to Captain Clay. He is proved 
to be the heir-at-law, and we cannot hinder him 
from taking possession at once." 

She expected Alice would have screamed, or 
burst into tears, or gone into a fainting fit. In- 
deed, by way of being prepared for the last emer- 
gency, she had put a fresh supply of pungent salts 
into her smelling-bottle before she came into the 
room. But to her surprise, the young girl was 
quite calm. She simply appeared to be in a maze 
of bewilderment. 

" Then it isn't true, Miss Luckie ; I am not 
Aunt Amiel's niece, and I don't belong to her at 
all !" 

" Not at all, my dear." 

" Then do tell me how it is, for I can't under- 
stand it." 

' ( The fact is simply this, Alice. You are the 
daughter of a lady — at least, I mean a person who 
was betrayed into an elopement with a wicked and 
abandoned man. Mrs. Grey took you when you 
were quite a little baby, and has brought you up 
ever since. The people about here always thought 
that you were her niece, and there seemed no need 
to correct the report, ^especially as the real facts 
were so very unpleasant." 



st. olave's. 159 

" And the person, my mamma. Miss Luckie ?" 

" No one knows anything about her, Alice ; she 
disgraced herself beyond recovery." 

" But she is my mamma still. It doesn't make 
any difference about her not being good. If I 
could find her, I should like to be kind to her. 
Wouldn't it be right?" 

" My dear, I don't venture an opinion. I 
wouldn't for the world say anything that is not 
scriptural ; but at any rate she has never acted as a 
parent to you, and all your obligations are centred 
upon Mrs. Grey." 

' ' Yes ; dear Aunt Amiel ! But I suppose I must 
not call her Aunt Amiel now. How strange it 
seems ! And so the Old Lodge doesn't belong to 
me, and I have nothing to live upon, nothing at 
all. But you, Miss Luckie, what will you do ? 
Oh ! I am so sorry ! You gave up your pleasant 
home to be kind to me, and now we have both of 
us lost everything." And at the thought of Miss 
Luckie' s destitution, Alice, for the first time, began 
to look seriously troubled. 

"Don't distress yourself about me, darling," 
said Miss Luckie, drawing Alice nearer to her, " I 
have a great many influential friends in the army, 



160 st. olave's. 

and I have no doubt they will do their best to 
get me back my settlement at the Low Gar- 
dens." 

" Or, you know/' and Alice's face brightened, 
" you could come and live with us at Grassthorpe. 
Cuthbert cares for me still, and it won't make a 
bit of difference to him, my losing the money. You 
know I should love him just the same if he hadn't 
anything at all." 

Miss Luckie could not help kissing the rosy lips 
which were wreathed into a smile so faithful and 
loving; but she was not sure, after all, that the rule 
would work both ways. Just then, Lettice 
brought in a somewhat bulky looking letter. 

" Please, ma'am, this has come for Miss Grey." 

Alice's eyes glistened as she recognized the 
familiar handwriting. 

" Ah, it is from Cuthbert ! How kind of him 
to write so soon! He thought I should be troubled, 
and so he wants to comfort me, but I wish he 
had come instead ; it is so pleasant to see him." 

She opened the cover. Miss Luckie caught 
sight of two or three dainty little pink edged en- 
velopes within, and divining too truly what they 
meant, slipped quietly out of the room that Alice 
might be alone. 



st. olave's. 161 

They were the child's own letters and the bands 
she had worked for him, sent back with a polite 
note by Cnthbert Scrymgeour. 



VOL. III. 



162 



CHAPTER XIV. 

E 350319 1 HILST the oriel room was the scene of 
InKiMvl! srrave consultation between the law- 
^,C,'uJ yers, a second colloquy, quite as ani- 
mated, if not so portentous, had been going on in 
the culinary regions. Colin, in his striped waist- 
coat and shiny buttons, was seated on the table, 
alternately haranguing the assembled maids, and ex- 
cavating the tasty recesses of a plum-pie set before 
him by Symons, the cook, in return for the sti 11 
more tasty intelligence which he had rushed from 
Norlands to communicate. Mrs. Marris was 
there too, in her black silk bonnet and octogenarian 
shawl. She often stepped down in an afternoon, 
after returning from the Minster prayers, to have 



st. olave's. 163 

a " crack," as she termed it, with the servants, or 
pick up stray bits of gossip which found their way 
into the culinary department. 

A pleasant, roomy old spot was the front kitchen 
at the Lodge. A huge open fire-place stretched 
across one end, with a seat in the chimney corner, 
the cosiest place in the whole house on winter 
nights. There was no fire now though, and in its 
place an earthenware jar of asparagus leaves, mint, 
sweet-peas, and snap-dragons, filled the wide grate. 
The low roof was panelled with oak, dark and cool 
in summer time, but rare for flashing back Decem- 
ber firelight from its deep groovings. A lattice 
window, almost every pane written over with 
names or devices, looked out into the back garden, 
and past that to the Monastery ruins and the river 
Luthen. A few scraps of fanciful carving still 
lingered here and there round the wainscotting 
and doorposts ; old coats of arms, mottoes, groups 
of flowers, or queer grotesque faces, half-brute, 
half-human, such as one sees beneath cathedral 
gurgoyles. In the open doorway, nicely placed to 
catch the sunlight that crept through flickering 
elm tree leaves, lay a sedate, matronly tortoise- 
shell cat, winking peacefully at the gambols of her 



164 

kittens on the little bit of grass plot before the door. 

It was late in the afternoon. The work — what 
little there was of it, for they kept no company at 
the Old Lodge — had been finished an hour ago, 
and since then, the maids in their neat gowns of 
lilac print, and white linen aprons, had been chat- 
ting over their sewing. Colin was telling them 
about Mrs. Edenall ; it was only the day after her 
death. With a few vigorous strokes he had dashed 
off the leading features of the catastrophe, and 
was now filling in the particulars with a few 
additions from imagination. 

"Did you see her, Colin? was she smashed 
awful ?" said the kitchen-maid, who had a taste 
for horrors. 

' ' Not a bit. She just lay white and still, as if 
she'd been cut out o' marble, nobbut her head 
hung queer like, and she'd got them things in her 
hand as tight as tight. I seed Miss Bruce a try- 
ing to pull 'em out, but it warn't no yield." 

* What things, Colin?" 

" Why, yon screed of hair and the scarf t'other 
poor gentleman left hanging upo' the ash tree 
branch ; them as the barrack officers tried to fire 
at and couldn't hit 'em." 



st. olave's. 165 

" Poor thing l" and Symons wiped her eyes with 
her white apron. " I lay it gave her a sickening 
feel to see ; em hanging out there, and so she 
thought she'd climb down and fetch 'em off; my, 
she didn't know what the Norlands landslip was 
though, or she wouldn't ha' tried ! I reckon it 
would ha' gived me a turn to see 'em myself. I 
pities folks as has tender feelins." 

" I lay Miss Bruce will be glad to be clean shut 
on her, though," said the kitchen-maid, " I've 
heerd tell she has been awful flighty of late; 
hasn't she, Colin ?" 

i( I don't go to say what she used to be, but 
she's just as gentle as a lamb since she came to 
Norlands. She was allers giving of me sixpences 
and shillings to keep yon poor gentleman's grave 
tidy ; it cut her up his gettin' killed, it did ; but I 
never seed as Miss Bruce made much count on it. 
She used to be a deal tenderer though to Mrs. 
Edenall sin' it happened." 

" She's good to everybody, is Miss Bruce ; 
but law, Colin, she must be awful skeered 
now." 

"She is that. I clean pities for her, I does. 
If she was to lay her down side by side wi' 



166 

Mrs. Edenall, you couldn't tell which was which, 
she looks so white and cold like." 

There was a pause ; the maids went on with 
their sewing, and Colin helped himself to a fresh 
wedge of pie. By-and-by he said demurely — 

" Her name ain't Mrs. Edenall. It never were." 

"Bless us!" said the women in a breath, 
" what did they call her then ? Did you ever ? 
Do tell." 

Colin winked mischievously. "Now, the curiosity 
of female people," was all the reply he vouch- 
safed to this unanimous request. 

" Take that for your imperence, sir " and the 
cook darted forward and gave him a ringing box 
on the ear. Colin, in nowise daunted, returned 
it by another which tore off half her cap border. 

" Never heed, Mrs. Symons," said Lettice, 
"you'll get a new one at the wedding. I lay 
we'll all be smart enough then. Are you looking 
to get aught, Mrs. Marris ?" 

"Why, I don't misdoubt but Miss Alice '11 
behave handsome to the alms-people, happen a 
gownpiece or summut to make a cloak on. Marry, 
she's the money, and she don't care to spare it, 
bless her ! When is it to be ?" 



st. olave's. 167 

" Miss Luckie telled me they was nobbut wait- 
ing for this here gentleman as corned yesterday, 
so I reckon we shall soon get agate. Mrs. Cro- 
marty's had the muslin curtains done up this good 
bit past, and the best linen bleached, what Mrs. 
Amiel kept i' the great oak chest." 

" I don't much matter yon gentleman. Captain 
what do they call him. He goes about with over 
much of a swing/' continued Lettice. " He 
couldn't stick himself up more if all t' place was 
his own. He sent for me in a bit since to take 
'em some wine yonder into t' room, an' ordered 
t' best sort. He's no gentleman, he isn't, to help 
hisself to other folk's things that way." 

" What were they doing of, Lettice ?" said Mrs. 
Symons, " they've been agate ever since noon, and 
they're at it yet ; is it settlements or summut ?" 

" It's summut Mr. Scrymgeour don't like, I'll 
warrant ; he looked reg'lar savage. I always said 
he were a viewly young man, but my, I wouldn't 
care to sit nigh hand him if that's the way he's 
going to look when he gets bonnie Miss Alice." 

" Maybe they're tying him over fast, so as he 
can't lay his hands on the money. I kind o' 
misdoubted Mr. Cuthbert had an eye to Miss 



168 st. olave's. 

Alice's fortune. She's a awful screw is the Arch- 
deacon's widely, and she's put him up to that 
wedding as sure as I'm a living woman." 

" I believe you're right/' said Mrs. Marris. " I 
think if I was a man I should sort o' shame to let 
a woman put the meat into my pie, that way j but 
some folks thinks one way and some thinks 
another, and them as hasn't money does well to 
creep up other folks sleeves as has. And so you 
say the weddin's nigh hand, Lettice." 

"You'd say same yourself, Mrs. Marris, if 
you seed what a sight o' frilled linen and worked 
petticoats and things Miss Alice has got ready. 
A poor widdy woman as lives in the back College 
yard made 'em all. I telled Miss Alice — you see 
she sets great store by me, cause I've waited of 
her so long — I telled her there was a grand shop 
in the High Street kept them sort o' things, and 
had the beautifullest patterns. My sister as 
lives maid with the Bishop's lady, said Miss 
Standish got all hers there when she were married ; 
but nothing would serve Miss Alice but letting the 
widdy make 'em, cause she had seen better days, 
and was hard set to get victuals." 

" That's just marry to everything else that Miss 



st. olave's. 169 

Alice does, bless her ! And do you know what 
she's goin' to be in V' 

" Of course I do. Miss Alice talks to me like 
anything about her wedding ; she says to me ; 
Lettice, we must do this, and we must do that, 
before I get married, and she smiles and looks so 
bonnie while I wish I had a follower too. But St. 
Olave's isn't much of a place for followers ; it's over 
scarce of men. She's to be in white silk, with 
puffings of tulle and little sprigs of green leaves 
laid in betwixt 'em, sprinkled over with summut 
as looks like dewdrops. And she's to have her 
hair in ringlets, with a wreath of green leaves, and 
a tulle veil ; not lace, you know, that's over 
common for quality since Miss Baker at the cheese 
shop was married in a Brussels lace square, but 
beautiful clear white silk net, gathered round her 
head and floating about like a cloud. And then 
the bridesmaids is to be in white muslin wi' little 
purple flowers." 

" They'll look just like heavenly angels then," 
said the kitchen-maid, who had listened with open 
mouth to Lettice's voluminous description. 
" Mrs. Amiel Grey once gived me a ticket to see a 
picture of the New Jerusalem comin' down from 



170 ST. olave's. 

heaven, which was bein' showed here, and she was 
in white muslin, with purple spots; leastways, 
that was what it looked like. But I ax yer 
pardon, Mrs. Symons, you was a-goin' to say 
summut." 

" I were only wanting Colin to tell us what they 
called that there lady up at Norlands, if her name 
isn't Mrs. Edenall." 

But Colin chose to stand upon his dignity. 

" I don't go to gratify female folk's curiosity as 
skelps me on my ears/' 

" Whisht, whisht, lad, it ain't no yield for 
youngsters like you to quarrel with their bread an' 
cheese ;" Mrs. Symons's hand was upon the plum 
pie, a moment more and it would have disappeared 
from his longing eyes into the shadowy recesses of 
the larder. Colin wisely resolved to put his dignity 
into his pocket. 

u Hold hard, missis, just hand that pie back 
again and I'll tell ye all I know." 

Mrs. Symons replaced the pie with a triumphant 
smile, and Colin opened his budget. 

" I heered it onawares when I went to tell 'em 
Dr. Greenwood was come. Miss Bruce telled 
Mrs. Cromarty she wasn't to let on about it, 'cause 



st. olave's. 171 

nobody in St. Olave's knew, but if folk's real 
names isn't to be spoke, I don't see what is. 
Miss Bruce was a bendin' over her, over Mrs. 
Edenall I mean, it were just after she'd gotten 
killed, and Mrs. Cromarty was standin' stiff 
upright like a statty, nigh hand her, and she said, 
did Mrs. Cromarty, as how she'd seed her afore ; 
she'd lived maid with her when she were a young 
leddy, and her name wasn't Mrs. Edenall at all, 
but Marian Brandon." 

" Marian what ?" said Mrs. Marris. 

"Marian Brandon, granny, what's got yer ears?" 

Mrs. Marris was too much absorbed in her own 
reflections to resent this juvenile impertinence. 

" Marian Brandon ?" she exclaimed, bringing 
down her hand upon her knee with a resonant 
thump, which startled puss and made her spring 
right into the middle of the grass plot, much to 
the astonishment of the kittens, who were disport- 
ing thereon. " Marian Brandon, yes, that was the 
name. I mind it now as clear as owt. Mrs. 
Cromarty was tellin' me about it a good bit past, but 
I just let it slip out o' my intellects 'cause it warn't 
a name as I'd heered afore. A rare beautiful 
young lady Mrs. Cromarty said she was, wi' curlin' 



172 st. olave's. 

hair and a glint in her een just for all the world 
like Miss Alice ; and she came to shame wi' 
nought but her fair looks. Beauty an' misery, 
beauty an' misery, that's the way in this here 
world. I won't go to say it certain, but it lies 
strong upo' my mind as a baby corned after- 
wards." 

Mrs. Symons put on a look of virtuous asperity, 
and told Colin to go and finish his pie in the back 
kitchen. 

" No wonder, indeed," she said, ' ' that Miss 
Bruce didn't wish the facts to expire in St. Olave's, 
but for my part I think folks as disgraces them- 
selves that way ought to be publicly transposed, 
for a warning to their sex. Babies is plentiful 
enough in the world without more comin' as hasn't 
a name to their backs, and nothin' but shame to 
get a livin' with." 

" Ay, marry, but to think of Mrs. Edenall, with 
her proud, stiff ways, belonging to that sort ! I 
mind once, it's nigh half a year ago now, she came 
to my place in such a flusterment — you know I 
used to get her things up for her — about a 
handkerchief as had got sent in a mistake. Laws, 
I never seed anybody so flustered i' my life. ( Mrs. 



st. olave's. 173 

Marris, says she — she spoke dainty and soft-like, 
but her face was as white as a chorister's surplice 
— ' I believe you've got a handkerchief that has 
been put in unawares with my clothes/ Well, 
ma'am, I said, I an't looked in among 'em yet, 
but they're all there, and I pointed to a basket 
nigh hand the copper, you can see for yourself. 
Well, Mrs. Symons, she flew to that basket like 
mad, and mercy on us if you'd seen how she 
tewed among t' things, clawing 'em over wi' such 
a vengeance. At last she gived a sort o' little 
squeak, and then hushed it up sharp, and turned to 
me just as cold and stiff-like as ever. ' Mrs. 
Marris,' says she, ' I've found it, thank you/ and I 
just seed it in her hand afore she got it crammed 
into her pocket. It was rare and viewly, 
the beautifullest thing ever I seed, all broidered 
round, and a grand fandanglement in the 
corner, with a name, Marian Brandon, put 
on wi' satin stitch, same pattern as Mistress 
Amiel Grey, you know, used to work. 
I ain't thought of it since then ; I didn't mis- 
doubt it was one she'd gotten lent and was feared 
o' losin' it ; but I sees it clear now. It was her 
own name as she'd brought shame upon." 



174 

"It's obnoxious/' said Mrs. Symons, "it's 
perfectly obnoxious; and to think of a quiet, 
harmless lady like Miss Bruce harbouring such 
vermin !" 

Miss Luckie was passing the open door, and 
caught the last sentence. 

" What is that, Symons ?" 

" It's Mrs. Edenall, ma'am/' cried Lettice, 
whose tongue was generally in advance of her 
discretion. " She's been and gone and tumbled 
down the Norlands landslip, and smashed herself 
all to nothing." 

" Hould yer whisht, ye clattering magpie," said 
Mrs. Marris, rising and curtseying until the top 
tuck of her lilac gown touched the floor ; l ' it's 
here, ma'am, she's turned out to be a impostor ; 
she's not Mrs. Edenall at all, but a woman as 
hasn't been no better than she ought. Mrs. 
Cromarty found it out, ma'am ; she used to live 
maid with her when she was a young leddy, but 
you see with it being so many years back, she 
never know'd her for the same while she see'd 
her a-bending over that gentleman, that Mr. 
Ramsay that got killed. I mind of Mrs. Cromarty 
telling me summut a good bit past, but I didn't 



175 

give much heed. And there was a baby come, 
ma'am, if you'll excuse me mentioning such a 
circumstance, and you a virtuous maiden lady 
as you've always been. And her name was 
Marian Brandon, ma'am, Colin heered Mrs. Cro- 
marty say so; but she's dead and gone, poor body, 
now, and I won't rake up her sins agin her." 

Marian Brandon ! Miss Luckie remembered that 
letter of Mistress Amiel Grey's which Alice had 
just shown to her. She tottered, pale and trem - 
bling, to the nearest seat. 

" Mercy on us, she's going to faint; born leddies 
isn't used to hear tell o' such things !" and Lettice 
rushed to the fireplace and tore out a great bunch 
of mint, which she held under her mistress's 
nose. 

As Miss Luckie revived, the truth broke slowly 
in upon her. Mrs. Edenall was Alice's mother. 
And then she remembered that other name which, 
in the midst of so much excitement and confusion, 
she had not yet linked with him who was now 
lying in Norlands Churchyard. Was Douglas 
Ramsay the father of Alice ? 

" Lettice, give me your hand to my room, I am 
very much startled." 



176 st. olave's. 

The kind-hearted girl sprang forward, and sup- 
ported Miss Luckie out of the kitchen. When 
they were gone, Mrs. Marris tied on her bonnet. 

' ' It isn't late, I'll slip down and tell my niece 
as lives maid at Chapter Court. Law, what a 
tasty bit of news it is, and won't the Archdeacon's 
widdy open her eyes when she hears tell on it ? 
She was allers dead set agin Mrs. Edenall, 'cause 
she held up her head so high. It's a queer world, 
it is." 



177 



CHAPTER XV. 

■552533 

K||Ii|HE day after Mrs. EdenalFs death, 
LwidS J anet wrote to her solicitor in Cum- 
Rnzsswa Der i an( ^ informing him of the accident, 
and inquiring where the clothes, jewels, and other 
articles of value belonging to the unfortunate 
woman, should be forwarded. She received the 
following reply : — 

" Madam, — We are in receipt of the letter in 
which you announce the particulars of Mrs. 
EdenalFs untimely death. Perhaps you are not 
aware that both Mrs. EdenalFs parents are dead, 
and that, some years ago, her conduct was such as 
to alienate her completely from the other mem- 

VOL. III. N 



178 st. olave's. 

bers of her family, with whom, since that time, she 
has held no communication. We are authorized 
to say that any articles left by Mrs. Edenall at 
Westwood are at your own disposal; and if you 
have incurred any expenses on her account, they 
will be defrayed on application to us. We are, 
madam, your obedient servants, 

" Messrs. Scrutem and Co." 

Mrs. Edenall was buried by the side of Dou- 
glas Ramsay. There chanced to be a vacant space, 
and it seemed fitting to the parish authorities that, 
as a similar accident had caused the death of both, 
they should rest together. Janet and Mrs. Cro- 
marty attended the funeral, which was very 
simple. 

As soon as it was over, Miss Bruce returned to 
Westwood. After the weary struggle and restless- 
ness of the past month, the stillness of the old home 
seemed very restful. Tibbie had been there for 
two or three days, getting all in order, airing the 
rooms, arranging furniture, putting up curtains. 
There was no love of change in the old woman's 
disposition, and so she put everything back into 
its former place, even to Mrs. EdenalFs crystal 



st. olave's. 179 

letter-weiglit ; which used to stand on the chimney- 
piece, and David's pens and rolls of manuscript 
music, which had lain on the little table in the 
corner ever since he went away. 

"It looks still, still and peaceful like," said 
Tibbie to herself, as she stood in the doorway of 
the parlour when all was arranged, " and the puir 
leddy '11 no ruffle it mair the noo. She aye put a 
glamour over it wi' her uncanny ways. The Lord 
send that she sail ha' quiet rest aboon, for it was 
far fra her i' this warld." 

Janet arrived in the evening. Her first occupa- 
tion, when she returned, was to gather up with 
reverent care all Mrs. EdenalFs belongings and 
lay them away in the room which she had occu- 
pied. The letters and papers were left untouched, 
also that desk where the purse lay. Janet was 
the soul of honour, and she kept the secrets of 
the dead as faithfully as those of the living. Then 
she sat down and wrote to her brother. 

She was no great correspondent. A letter 
once a month or so was the most that passed 
between them ; neither, when exchanged, did they 
abound in sentiments or violent manifestations of 
affection. Just a quiet, unimpassioned record of 

n 2 



180 

the everyday life of each ; her little cares, little 
duties, little pleasures, — his toils, triumphs, suc- 
cesses won and difficulties overpast — these formed 
the chief materials of their correspondence. The 
inner life of each never came to the surface ; no 
word was spoken now of the hopes which had 
once brightened the future, or the memories which 
lay like a cloud on the past. 

Janet had not written to her brother since the 
day before Douglas Ramsay's death. She told 
him all of that now, of the first lonely watch, and 
the death scene with its strange revelations. She 
passed silently over her own griefs, and then went 
on to that second death, Mrs. Edenall's. All the 
particulars of both were given with clear, business- 
like accuracy, no comments, no moralising, 
nothing but the straightforward simple facts. 
From the dead she passed to the living. David 
had wished that she should not shrink from men- 
tioning Alice's affairs to him, and especially the 
wedding, whenever that should take place. So 
she told him of the preparations which were being 
made, said that the Highlands had been chosen 
for their marriage jaunt, and closed her letter by 
stating that Captain Clay, Alice's only surviving 



ST. olave's. 181 

relative, had come from India, and was now at the 
Old Lodge, superintending the drawing-up of 
settlements for the bride. 

As soon as this letter was finished, she sent it by 
Tibbie to the post, and then gave herself over to 
a long, long spell of meditation. 

It was very rarely that Janet Bruce suffered 
herself to picture what life might have been. This 
lack of imagination was of incalculable benefit to 
her. It enabled her to take each day patiently, 
and make the best she could of it. The quiet, 
unvarying track of common work-day duty was 
not dimmed for her, as it would have been for 
others of more ardent natures, by the haunting 
memory of sunshine overpast, or the still more 
wearying hope deferred of joy that might come. 
Life for her now, was just a straight, even, well- 
defined track, with a beaten footpath opening out 
from day to day; but no shady by-paths, no 
flowery dingles, no sunlighted landscapes luring 
her away to wander over their brightness. She 
had conquered the past, and for her there was no 
future except that of heaven. 

We talk of the heroism of those who battle hard 
in the thick of life against the mailed ranks of 



182 st. olave's. 

worldly passions and cares ; who toil to the death 
with head, heart and hand, for standing-room and 
victory. But it is more heroic to strive silently 
with a grini array of memories which marshal 
ghostlike on the soul's battle-field; and slay- 
ing them one by one, trample over their dead 
corpses to the life that lies beyond, the life of 
patient unwearying duty. This is what many an 
unknown Joan of Arc has to do, this is what 
Janet Bruce did, though no one ever praised her 
for it. 

She was still sitting there, thinking over all 
these things, when some one came along the 
gravel walk. Janet lifted her head ; it was Mrs. 
Cromarty. Something unusual had excited her. 
She crushed the stones beneath her feet with an 
impetuous tread, very unlike her usual calm, stately 
bearing. Her swarthy brow was pale ; the rich 
curves of her lips were compressed into a thin, 
quivering red line, and fires of mingled womanly 
indignation and pity burned through her dark 
eyes. Janet beckoned her to come in, and she 
stood in the doorway of the quiet little room, 
startling its repose just as Mrs. Edenall used to do 
in the old time. Hurriedly and eagerly, without 



183 

waiting for greeting or salutation, she began to speak, 
" And if she was base-born, ma'am, her heart 
is as white as an angel's wing, and it's ill credit 
to the man as dares cast in her face the sins of 
them that made her what she is. But it's none 
that that's broke his troth, it's because she's lost 
her bit of money; she hasn't a penny, the innocent 
darling, to call her own, and if he was a true 
man he'd grip her closer to his heart, he would, 
because she'd nought to give him but herself, 
instead of casting her off this way. Oh, ma'am, 
it's a wicked world, it is." 

" I don't understand," said Janet quietly. 
As we have seen before, she was not expert at 
taking up unfinished trains of thought and linking 
them into actual facts. 

" Ah, you haven't heard of it ? It's sorry then 
that I am, ma'am, to be the first to tell ye such a 
dreary story. It's bonnie Miss Alice, bless her. 
The sorrow lies heavy upon her, the darlin', and 
all for no ill doing of hers. She's no claim to 
nothing in the Old Lodge, ma'am; and yon Captain 
Clay, him as we thought had come to give her 
away to Mr. Scrymgeour, owns every penny of the 
money that should have been hers." 



184 st. olave's. 

" It is very sad, and Alice is not one to contend 
with privation. But, Mrs. Cromarty, she will 
soon have a home of her own and be safely 
sheltered/' 

" Sorry a bit of it, ma'am ! He's cast her off, 
the false, mean-hearted money-hunter; excuse 
me, Miss Bruce, I oughtn't to speak such words, 
and me professing to be a Christian woman, but 
it's clean washed all the charity out of me, it has." 

"Do you mean that Mr. Scrymgeour is not 
going to marry Alice ? " 

" Ay, ma'am, the pitiful thing that he is !" 
. One wild thought of her brother darted through 
Janet Bruce's mind, but she put it away 
again. 

"I don't see clearly what you mean, Mrs. 
Cromarty. Mistress Amiel Grey had no nearer 
relative than Alice, at least so I always under- 
stood." 

c ' Miss Bruce," and Mrs. Cromarty came nearer 
and spoke in a calm, rigid tone, "it's not a 
thing one cares to talk about, and I'd never have 
let it pass my lips, but there's others that'll tell 
you if I don't. Poor Miss Alice, bless her, is no 
niece of Mistress Amiel Grey's. She come to her 



st. olave's. 185 

when she was a helpless baby, and we all thought 
she belonged to Mrs. Grey's kith and kin, but it 
isn't so. She's the child of Marian Brandon, 
Miss Bruce — her as we called Mrs. Edenall — and 
yon Douglas Ramsay that lies dead in the church- 
yard now. Theirs was the guilt, ma'am, and she 
has the sorrow to bear." 

Janet showed no outward sign of feeling, but it 
seemed as if suddenly an icy hand had clutched 
her in its grasp and frozen the very life out of her. 
This Alice Grey — this young girl whom she had 
caressed and fondled — was the child of her own 
betrothed — the seal of his faithlessness to her. 
God forgive her that for one moment a thought of 
passionate anger burst forth against the unconscious 
girl ! But only for a moment. Ere it had time 
to shape itself into a feeling, it was borne away by 
the God-given charity which endureth all things 
and thinketh no evil. 

For some time she sat quite still. Janet was 
slow to take up new thoughts ; she was not slow to 
take up new duties. It was her habit to be quiet, 
but whilst those who called her cold or apathetic 
were wasting time in unavailing regrets, she devised 
means for relief. 



186 

" Mrs. Cromarty," she said, after a pause, " I 
must go to Alice. If you are returning to St. 
Olave's, be so kind as to send me a cab down 
from the nearest stand. " 

" That I'll do, ma'am, and welcome. I'm think- 
ing there's none will comfort the poor young thing 
like you can. Miss Luckie, bless her, is as kind 
as kind ; but, ma'am, she's never known the real 
touch of sorrow at her heart — not stinging sorrow 
as reaches right down to the bottom — and I reckon 
it's none but that sort makes us able to speak a 
word in season to them that's weary." 

It was late in the evening when Miss Bruce 
arrived at the Old Lodge. Captain Clay was there, 
examining the oil paintings in the oriel room, and 
directing the workmen to pack those which he 
wished to retain. The whole house was in con- 
fusion. Two men were taking an inventory of the 
furniture ; Symons, a look of steady resentment 
on her face, was emptying the contents of the china 
closet and arranging them in order on the table ; 
another servant was collecting the plate for a gold- 
smith who had come to weigh it. Lettice, with 
her arms full of linen and table-cloths, met Janet 
in the hall. 



st. olave's. 187 

" Can I speak to Miss Grey ? " 

Lettice dropped the napery and bnrst into a 
passionate fit of crying. 

" Folks says she's none Miss Grey, now, but 
they can't rob her of her blessed christened name, 
as we all love her by, the darling ! I knowed that 
man meant mischief by his looks as soon as ever 
he set foot in the house, but I never thought to 
see ought like this. We're all going to be thrown 
out of place, ma'am, and what's to become on us, 
goodness knows !" 

And Lettice threw her apron over her head with 
a fresh burst of tears. 

Miss Bruce watched her very quietly. 

" Will you show me where Miss Alice is ? " she 
said again, " I wish to see her." 

Lettice pushed the piles of linen on one side, 
and conducted Janet to Alice's room. It was in 
the oldest part of the house, over the oriel room, 
with a heavy stone-mullioned window looking out 
into the Close. It had an unkept, comfortless 
appearance now ; some of the furniture had been 
removed, the ornaments taken away, the oak chests, 
where Aunt Amiel used to keep her linen, emptied, 
and some of the contents scattered on the tfoor. 



188 st. olave's. 

Alice did not hear Miss Bruce come in. She was 
sitting on the broad low window-seat,, her hands 
clasped loosely together, her forehead pressed 
against the stone framework. The sunny brown 
ringlets that hung over her face were wet with 
tears, but she was not crying now. Her grief 
seemed to have spent itself, and she only moaned 
heavily as if in pain. 

This was Douglas Ramsay's child. Janet crushed 
back all other thoughts but those of pity. She 
went softly up to the poor girl, and laid her hands 
upon the head that was bowed down so help- 
lessly. 

" Alice, I have come to take you home to me." 

Think, you tender-hearted, suffering woman, 
who may have staked your happiness on the faith 
of one man and found him worthless — think of the 
bitterness that would curdle your very blood at sight 
of his base-born child, his child, but not yours, 
the seal that fixed your separation, and not the 
tie that bound you more closely together — and then 
say with whom you would mate this quiet, cold, un- 
demonstrative Janet Bruce, as she leaned over the 
desolate girl and whispered — 

" Alice, come home to me." 



189 

Alice only moaned and pressed her pale face more 
closely against the stone nmllions. She was ut- 
terly broken down and crushed. She had none of 
the pride which carries some women through an 
ordeal as severe as this, and nerves them to bear it 
without a tear, lest pity should be offered, that 
pity which is far worse than silence. Miss Bruce 
said no more to her. She fetched Lettice up and 
told her to put together such things as her young 
mistress would need for the present; then she 
went to Miss Luekie to tell her of the arrange- 
ment which she had made, and then back again to 
the poor girl who was still sitting there in a mute, 
unconscious stupor of grief. 

Janet's manner was calm and decided as she 
laid her hand on Alice's shoulder. This time 
Alice lifted up her face ; its look, so charged with 
helpless, uncomplaining woe, almost overcame 
Janet. She put her arm round her, and led her 
downstairs to the cab which was waiting at the 
door. Without a word Alice suffered herself to be 
lifted in. Lettice put the portmanteau under the 
seat. With a jerky bow and a quick "where to 
next, ma'am ?" the driver shut up the steps, and 
so Alice Grey left the Old Lodge, the home of her 



190 

childhood, the home she thought to leave ere long 
amidst the pomp and flutter of bridal happiness. 

Night was falling when they reached Westwood. 

The sky was grey, and a drizzly rain fell softly 
upon the fluttering leaves. Tibbie had lighted a 
fire in the parlour ; tea was waiting for them on 
the little white-covered table ; all looked peaceful 
and homelike, scarce changed from that summer 
evening twelvemonths ago when Alice first came 
as a guest to that house. The poor child seemed 
still to be in a sort of dream. Janet took off her hat 
and cloak, and then made her sit down on the sofa. 
As she drew the pale little face closer to her own 
bosom, she noticed with a sharp grip of pain how 
like it was to Douglas Ramsay's. For his sake 
she kissed the forehead, then the colourless cheeks, 
then the still lips folded down in mute, patient 
grief. This tenderness seemed to rouse Alice. 
She lifted herself up : — 

" Oh, Miss Bruce, I could have borne it all if 
only Cuthbert had kept on loving me." 

And then with a gush of tears in which it 
seemed as if she would have wept her very life 
away, she fell into Janet's arms, the only rest- 
ing place that was left for her now. 



191 



CHAPTER XVI. 




UTHBERT, if I were asked to give 
my opinion, I should say that the 
sacrifice of affection which you have 
been called upon to make, and from which, 
to the everlasting honour of your family and 
position you have not selfishly shrunk, reflects the 
utmost credit upon you; and by thus nobly 
allowing private feeling to become a martyr to the 
superior claims of social status, you have immea- 
surably exalted yourself in my estimation." 

This somewhat lengthy and well-digested sy- 
nopsis of archidiaconal sentiment was given, it is 
needless to inform the reader, in the dining room 
of Chapter Court, and proceeded from the lips of 



192 st. olave's. 

Mrs. Scrymgeour, who sat in customary afternoon 
state at the right-hand side of the velvet pile 
hearthrug. 

She held in her hand a piece of rich white satin, 
on which she was embroidering the Scrymgeour 
arms in gold and silver thread, for a banner screen. 
This piece of work was originally intended as a 
wedding present to Alice Grey, and Mrs. Scrym- 
geour had thought of having the Old Lodge arms 
quartered on the opposite side in royal blue. She 
congratulated herself however, now, that she had 
not gone to the expense of having them drawn for 
that purpose. In its present condition the screen 
was complete, and might answer for a future bride- 
elect without further alteration. 

The Chapter Court cat couched in the centre of 
the hearthrug. Its forepaws were held together, its 
eyes closed, its head slightly uplifted. One might 
have thought it was returning thanks on account 
of the great deliverance which had been wrought 
out for the dignity of the family. 

Cuthbert, in a luxuriously-cushioned arm-chair, 
sipped his coffee with the air of a gentleman. 
Certainly he did not give the impression of a 
person suffering under wounded susceptibilities as 



193 

he lounged gracefully back, his dainty kid boots 
elevated on a crimson hassock, his right hand 
lying like a lily leaf upon the black locks of a little 
Skye-terrier that crouched beside him, his left 
toying with a silver spoon crested with the Scrym- 
geour arms. On the whole, he looked rather 
comfortable than otherwise. But we will take it 
for granted that he possessed in an eminent degree 
the invaluable art of self-control. Perhaps in 
secret he might shed a tear or two over his 
blighted hopes, and men's faces don't show sorrow 
as women's do. 

Neither was there much of the martyr spirit 
impressed on that aristocratic face, with its frame- 
work of silky brown locks, and pendent tassels 
of whisker. Mr. Scrymgeour was not likely at 
present to become a martyr either to his principles 
-or his affections. You might have looked in vain, 
too, for any abatement of the complacency which 
ruled supreme over those chiselled features, or 
any, even the slightest twinge of sorrow, if not for 
the suffering he had caused, at least for the 
downfall his honour had sustained. Evidently 
the thought never suggested itself to Cuthbcrt 

VOL. III. o 



194 st. olave's. 

Scrymgeour that in withdrawing from his engage- 
ment he had done violence to the minutest fraction 
of moral or social etiquette. It was, as he ex- 
plained to his friends, ff an unfortunate circum- 
stance, but unavoidable, perfectly unavoidable/' 
And they quite agreed with him. Had the affair 
touched Alice's pedigree only, and left her purse 
intact, possibly Cuthbert might have screwed 
himself up to the heroic, and fortified his resolution 
with that oft-quoted couplet : — 

" Kind hearts are more than coronets, 
And simple faith than Norman blood." 

But when money and position pass off together 
in invisible vapour from the social crucible, it is 
astonishing how little people think of the useless 
residuum of goodness which remains. 

" So fortunate, my dear Cuthbert/' continued 
the Archdeacon's widow, in the blandest of tones, 
" so fortunate that the eclair cissement took place 
just when it did. Had not the death of that 
perfidious woman delayed the consummation of 
your marriage with the girl she palmed upon 
society as her niece, I tremble to think what the 
consequences must have been. Cuthbert, I could 



st. olave's. 195 

never have lifted up my head in St. Olave's, had 
I beheld the nephew, in whom are centred my 
fondest earthly hopes, inveigled into an indis- 
soluble connection with — but I will not soil my 
lips by repeating the word which designates Alice 
Brandon." 

" It's a confounded nuisance, Aunt. I expect 
the thing's bandied about all over the city." 

"To your credit, Cuthbert. It cannot be 
mentioned but with infinite credit to yourself. I 
am convinced the Close families will join in 
supporting your motives. Indeed, the Canon's 
lady has already confided to me her profound 
sympathy with you as regards the deception of 
which you had so nearly become the dupe." 

"I wonder how the little girl feels," said 
Cuthbert, lifting up a spoonful of coffee, and 
letting it fall in sparkling amber drops back again 
to his cup, greatly to the delight of Skye, who 
sat on his hind legs watching the process. 

" Cuthbert, I have dismissed the unfortunate 
creature from my affections, and I trust your 
fortitude will prompt you to act with equal de- 
cision. I am happy, however, to say, that my 
indignation did not lead me to forget the claims 



196 st. olave's. 

of ceremony. I sent my maid across with cards 
as soon as the affair was concluded." 

That was quite true. On the heels of the 
messenger, who delivered np poor Alice' s little 
love tokens, came a second, bearing cards and 
Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour's sincere sympathies. 
Miss Luckie was crossing the hall, and received 
both sets of articles at the same time ; the 
sympathies she consigned to nameless limbo, the 
cards she tore in pieces, and, in the violence 
of her indignation, flung them among the pig's 
wash. 

" I say, Aunt, to think now of Alice being the 
daughter of that imperial Mrs. Edenall ! " 

Mrs. Scrymgeour elevated the banner screen 
so as to hide her face, which glowed with insulted 
modesty. 

' ' Cuthbert ! u she exclaimed, " if you have any 
respect for yonr aunt, do not presume to mention 
that woman's name in my presence. I expunge 
the very thought of her from my memory ; the 
unprincipled outcast, to think of intruding herself 
into the bosom of a respectable family; nay more, 
to fix her residence in the precincts of a Cathedral 
city ; nay more, to insinuate herself morning by 



st. olave's. 197 

morning into the t ecclesiastical edifice itself, and 
flaunt her shame in the very next pew to the pre- 
bendary stall — Cuthbert, it is an everlasting dis- 
grace to the Close; it reflects a stain npon us 
which can never be effaced. It outrages all the 

principles of " 

Gently,, gently, Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour ! 
Now and then as you trail your sumptuous silks 
across the pavement of the High Street, a 
fair young girl, once pure as well as fair, be- 
dizened now in the tawdry finery of the castaway, 
and wearing on her brow the brand which no tears 
can wash away, crosses your path. She once 
waited upon you, Mrs. Scrymgeour. She once 
smoothed those grizzled curls of yours, and folded 
the archidiaconal velvet over your heart-empty 
bosom, and heard you read out of that crimson- 
covered prayer-book words of tender, loving kind- 
ness, the words of Him who spake as never man 
spake, who hallowed all human love by the touch 
of Divine sympathy, who said not of the hardened, 
but the repentant sinner — ' ' Neither do I condemn 
thee." She heard you read those words, Mrs. 
Scrymgeour. But in an unfortunate moment you 
discovered her gossiping with a follower, ay, 



198 st. olave's. 

brazen-faced hussy that she was, actually permit- 
ting the scoundrel to kiss her cheek behind the 
shadow of your ecclesiastical back kitchen door; 
and out of your employ then and there she went. 
You knew she had no home, but that mattered not; 
sheltered or unsheltered she should not make the 
grey walls of Chapter Court a screen for forbidden 
love passages, so she left at a moment's notice, — 
where, was of no consequence. And now, does it 
enter that heart of yours to think that one day 
her innocence may be required at your hands, 
before a tribunal from which there is no appeal ? 

Apparently it did not, for Mrs. Archdeacon 
Scrymgeour continued in the same sedate, dignified 
tones : — 

" I consider it a duty which every pure-minded 
woman owes to her sex, to discountenance to the 
utmost such unprincipled creatures, and to abandon 
them to the punishment with their evil deeds 
deserve. I have no sympathy which those mis- 
taken individuals who would relax the barriers of 
judicious moral restraint, and extend the right hand 
of sympathy to women who have set at defiance 
the institutes of virtue/'' 

The cat drew herself up, folded her tail deco- 



st. olave's. 199 

rously round her fore-paws, and turned towards her 
mistress with a complacent pucker of her face 
which seemed to say : " Mrs. Scrymgeour, I en- 
dorse your sentiments, and am proud of them." 

' c She must have had money, though," continued 
Cuthbert. ' ' Did I not hear you say that diamond 
bracelet of hers was the envy of the Close, and 
her lace shawls or mantles, or whatever you call 
them, were the real things, best Spanish ?" 

"Cuthbert, since you force me to the subject, 
I repeat my conviction that the articles to which 
you refer were the wages of guilt, nor can I acquit 
the Braces of lamentable and even culpable neglect, 
i n not having instituted a more strict inquiry into 
her character before they received her into the 
bosom of their family." 

" But," persisted the pertinacious nephew, "you 
once thought of leaving cards, did you not, and 
you only did not do it for fear of patronizing the 
Braces ?" 

Mrs. Scrymgeour summoned all her dignity. 
"Cuthbert, we will, if you please, drop the 
subject." 

The subject was dropped accordingly, and a 
profound silence ensued. It must have lasted some 



200 

minutes, when Blanche Egerton sailed slowly past 
the window on her way to the Deanery, where 
Elene Somers was having a few mnsical friends to 
practise part-songs. She wore a heavy black lace 
dress, a floating bnrnons of crimson grenadine 
fell in graceful folds round her tall figure, and from 
her little black velvet hat a single white feather 
drooped and mingled with the blue-black braids of 
her hair. 

Mrs. Scrymgeour laid down her work and de- 
liberately took in the general effect of this magni- 
ficent brunette toilette. Then she resumed her 
operations on the banner-screen, and by-and-by 
remarked, as if bringing to a close some well 
wrought out train of thought — 

"I should say old Squire Egerton will leave 
those grand-daughters of his, twenty-five thousands 
each at the very least/'' Another pause. — " Very 
good family too, unblemished pedigree, not a bar- 
sinister that I am aware of, on their escutcheon." 

The cat intimated her approval of these state- 
ments by a wave of her left paw. There was no 
reply from Cuthbert, who was still idly toying with 
Skye's jetty locks. 

The clock in the hall struck eight. Mr. Scrym- 



ST. olave's. 201 

geour set down his coffee-cup and strolled to the 
window. A furniture dray stood at the door of 
the Old Lodge ; it was half filled with packages, 
and a couple of men were arranging others upon 
it which looked like picture -cases. 

"Yes, Aunt," — it was a full half-hour since 
Blanche Egerton had vanished through the grey 
portals of the Deanery — "And I always liked a 
dark girl." 

So, courteous reader, between you and me, I 
fancy we may consider that little matter as finally 
arranged. And let us hope that Squire Egerton 
will not take it into his head to marry again, as is 
so frequently the fashion amongst old men now-a- 
days. 



202 



CHAPTER XVII. 

i|S|gEHEIlE was a general sale at the Old 
AffisKJI Lodge a fortnight after Captain Clay's 
■ SXBas ^ 2 arrival. He did not intend to nse the 
place as a residence. Accustomed as he had been 
for so many years to the bustle and excitement of 
foreign military life, the brooding dulness of a 
second-rate Cathedral city appeared intolerable ; 
and, therefore, after making all needful arrange- 
ments, he left for his estate in the South. 

Of all things in this world — at least that part of 
it which lives in handsome houses and gives liberal 
entertainments — there is scarcely anything more 
sad than the private view days which precede a 
general auction sale. To watch brokers and bar- 



203 

gain-hunters scanning with shrewd, greedy-eyed 
intelligence, the little home treasures which have 
been made sacred by their association with the 
departed \ to see so-called friends prying curiously, 
and with the easy air of privileged intruders, into 
the rooms where once they had been courteously 
entreated as guests, or speculating on the possible 
price of services of plate from which scarce a 
month ago they had partaken the hospitality of 
its dead or bankrupt owner — there is something 
rather melancholy in all this. Surely, if a de- 
parted spirit wished to see one of the most painful 
phases of human life, he could not do better than 
revisit his old abode during the private view days 
of the auction sale which finishes up his funeral 
obsequies. 

Everything at the Old Lodge was sold, except 
some oil paintings and a few pieces of the rarer 
furniture. The attendance was large. Some came 
to see the mansion with its splendid entrance hall, 
andwainscotted galleries, and tapestried state rooms 
which had once been the resting-places of kings. 
Antiquarians revelled amongst the carved oak 
cabinets and chests, each of which was worth a cart- 
load of modern drawing-room furniture. A few 



204 st. olave's. 

stiff old maidens, who had a weakness for china, 
slipped across the Close to inspect Mistress Amiel 
Grey's goodly store of Dresden and Sevres. Others, 
not a few, came simply for the sake of lounging 
over the rooms where once they had been wel- 
comed as guests, and gossipping over the unfortu- 
nate affair which had made such a sudden splash 
in the stagnant waters of Close society. 

The view commenced in the afternoon, but be- 
fore that time a few of the families, who objected 
to being mixed up with the vulgar herd of ordi- 
nary sale goers,made friends with the auctioneer, 
and got admittance to an extra private view, early 
in the morning, before the touch of fingers 
smirched with trade or shopkeeping had marred 
Mistress Amiel Grey's household treasures. 

" Exquisite napery this, Mrs. Spurge/' and 
Canon Crumpet' s wife laid her white hand on a 
pile of silken fine damask which was arranged on 
one of the corner tables in the oriel room. " And 
so new too ; really it cannot have been washed 
more than once or twice." 

iC Part of the wedding outfit, dear Mrs. Crum- 
pet/' whispered the Colonel's lady ; "you know the 
day was fixed and everything prepared, and the 



205 

poor girl, expecting she had unlimited means at 
command, spared no expense. An unfortunate 
thing, wasn't it?* 1 

<< Very unfortunate/' Mrs. Crumpet replied, 
unfolding one of the dinner napkins, snowdrop 
pattern, with Mrs. Grey's crest woven in the centre. 
"Very unfortunate, especially for poor Mr. 
Scrymgeour. I really pity him from the bottom 
of my heart ; you know it must have been such a 
blow to him, such a very great blow ! " 

" It was an unpleasant affair, certainly." 

f ' Yes, and he could not have acted otherwise 
than he did. You know it would have been com- 
pletely out of the question for him to have thrown 
himself away upon a girl who had not even com- 
mon respectability to sustain herself with. Would 
it not, dear Mrs. Spurge ? " 

Mrs. Spurge thought that it would have been, 
as the Canon's wife said, completely out of the 
question. It behoved a clergyman to consider his 
position. Position in a Cathedral city was of the 
utmost importance ; everything must give way to it. 

There was a rustle of draperies behind them, 
the draperies of Mrs. Egerton and brown-eyed 
Blanche. 



206 st. olave's. 

" Ah, Mrs. Egerton, good morning ! good 
morning, Blanche. Beautiful show of things, is 
there not ? Mrs. Spurge and I were just talking 
over this table linen, exquisitely fine, isn't it ? 
But do you know, Mrs. Egerton, I don't fancy any 
of the Close people will purchase, on account of the 
crest/' 

" Can't it be picked out ?" said Blanche, " I 
suppose it is only marked in with silk." 

"No, Blanche dear, it is part of the design. 
I remember once when I was dining here, Mrs. 
Grey told me she had it manufactured at a place 
in Ireland, expressly for the Old Lodge table. 
Poor dear old lady, you know she was always so 
very particular about her table arrangements. 
If she could only step in now and see the 
wreck !" 

Ah, if she only could ! 

" Well, do you know, Mrs. Egerton," said the 
Canon's lady, " it strikes me as the most flagrant 
piece of deception I ever knew ; so unprincipled, 
really so very unprincipled. I cannot understand 
how Mrs. Grey could lend herself to anything so 
unprincipled. And when everyone in the Close 
gave her credit for such unbounded goodness. 



st. olave's. 207 

But the world is very hollo w, is it not, dear Mrs. 
Egerton?" 

Mrs. Egerton said that the world was hollow, 
very hollow indeed, painfully so in fact ; and then 
the four ladies moved away to examine the plate 
and china which were set out at the other end of 
the room. 

Mrs. Crumpet took up the pieces of the massive 
green and gold dessert service, and tapped them 
separately with her gloved knuckles. 

"Quite sound, not a flaw in them. Do you 
know, I've set my mind on this service. As soon 
as ever I heard of the unfortunate turn affairs had 
taken, I said to my eldest girl — Sophia, dear, 
there's sure to he a sale now at the Old Lodge, 
and I shall step across and secure that service. It 
was a present from Dean Grey to his wife when 
they were married. Beautiful workmanship, you 
see. Alice used to he very proud of it, on account 
of some peculiarity in the tint. Do you know 
what has become of the girl, Mrs. Spurge V 

" I really don't, dear Mrs. Crumpet. The entire 
affair was so exceedingly disreputable that I feci 
it due to my position not to inquire too minutely 
into it." 



208 

"I heard something about it/' said Blanche, 
lifting her dreamy eyes from a little silver bouquet 
holder of Alice's which was lying with the rest of 
the plate. Miss Bruce is giving her a home at 
Westwood until she can turn herself to some 
means of subsistence. Mrs. Scrymgeour told me 
so." And as she mentioned that name, a faint 
blush stole over Miss Egerton's ivory cheek. 

" Exceedingly kind of Miss Bruce. Possibly 
she knows more of the aifair than we do, but the 
Westwood people are the very last whom I should 
have suspected of harbouring Alice Brandon." 

"Alice who? dear Mrs. Crumpet," and the 
Colonel's lady lifted her aristocratic head with an 
air of polite inquiry — " Alice who ? n 

" Brandon, Alice Brandon. Is it possible, Mrs. 
Spurge, that you have not heard ? " 

" Well, you know I am in the habit of having 
my young people always with me, and of course 
in their presence I make a point of abstaining 
from anything that might bring the slightest 
possible stain on their youthful minds. But do 
enlighten me." 

Mrs. Crumpet stood severely erect at the head 
of the table, stately and dignified as any of the 



209 

stone worthies who kept watch over the west front 
of the Minster. Her left hand rested on the 
handle of Mrs. Grey's silver urn, the urn from 
which, in days gone by, she had often quaffed 
the cup which cheers but not inebriates ; her 
right pressed with all friendliness the gloved 
fingers of the Colonel's lady. 

"You recollect the — the person — the woman 
I mean, who under the name of Mrs. EdenalL, 
palmed herself, about a year ago, upon Miss 
Bruce. She was killed, you know, the other 
day." 

" Oh, yes. She sat near the Prebend's stall in 
the Cathedral, and wore such exquisite moire 
antiques. A distinguished-looking woman rather, 
and very tall." 

"Yes, some of these unfortunate creatures are 
quite superior in their bearing. Well, she has 
turned out to be — you understand/' and Mrs. 
Crumpet supplied the residue of her information 
with an emphatic gesture of scornful contempt. 

" It was accidentally found out," she continued, 
" Mrs. Cromarty, the housekeeper at Norlands, 
discovered her bending over that gentleman who 
was thrown from his horse at the landslip, and 

VOL. III. P 



210 ST. olave's. 

conducting herself in a very strange manner 
towards him. And then it turned out that he 
was the man with whom, nearly twenty years 
before, she had absconded." 

" Dear Mrs. Crumpet, how disreputable ! And 
to think that her presence was actually suffered 
at the Cathedral prayers. But how providential 
that no one left cards. Well, and about Alice ? " 

« rp^g gi r } w l 10 m we always took to be Mrs. 
Grey's niece, and whom we have treated with 
such uniform respect and consideration, is the 
child of this clandestine union ; illegitimate of 
course, and therefore unfit to be received any 
more into respectable society. I wonder Miss 
Bruce sees it consistent to have her at Westwood, 
but Scotch people are rather peculiar; and of 
course now that Mr. Bruce is abroad there is no 
danger of that kind in the way. Dear me ! I am sur- 
prised you have never heard of the affair. I daresay, 
however, Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour would like 
it hushed up as much as possible ; you know it 
was a very disagreeable thing for a man of Mr. 
Scrymgeour's position to have his name mixed up 
with such exceptionable people." 

" Exactly, and to have been made the dupe of 



211 

Mrs. Grey's wiles — a person who was always thought 
to be the very soul of honour. But as you say, 
Mrs, Crumpet, the world is hollow, painfully 
hollow. Would you object to step across with me 
into the drawing-room ? I fancy those tabouret 
curtains would just suit my bay window, and I 
have some thought of securing the little ormolu 
time-piece for the bracket in Blanche's boudoir, 
the dear child has such a fancy for anything 
tasteful." 

After all, it is a merciful providence which pre- 
vents departed souls from revisiting their earthly 
resting-places, for in most cases the retrospect 
would be anything but pleasant. 






212 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



HE Old Lodge servants were paid off> 
and the house advertised to be let. 



miSEt 



f S UrtnfTw'rg l Greatly to the wrath and indignation 
of the Close families, who had set their hearts 
npon a baronet, or at the very least the younger 
son of a titled family, it was taken by a purse- 
proud millionaire from Millsmany, a flaunting 
fungus spawned in the dark recesses of dye- 
houses and machinery ; more obnoxious, as Mrs. 
Scrymgeour observed, than even Mrs. Edenall 
herself; for that person, however faulty her 
antecedents might have been, always preserved 
the external appearance of a lady, and never 



st. olave's. 213 

roamed the Close, as the new-comers did, in 
toilets that might have been turned out of 
Bedlam. 

Mr. Bnllens was a jolly, carousing, country- 
squire-like sort of man, with a red-faced wife, 
who dropped her h's, and walked out before 
dinner in a pink silk dress with three flounces. 
There were two daughters, good-tempered girls, 
but terribly coarse, according to the St. Olave's 
canon of good taste. They used to carry brown - 
paper parcels in the streets, and laughed so that 
you might hear them from one end of the Close 
to the other. Three grown-up sons completed 
the family. They had warehouses in Millsmany, 
but came over to St. Olave's for the Sunday. 
The Close mammas took stock of them during 
their first public appearance at church, and then 
consigned them to oblivion, as being quite ineligi- 
ble in a matrimonial point of view. 

By-and-by the Old Lodge began to manifest 
unmistakable symptoms of its change of owner- 
ship. Mr. Bullens would fain have had the old 
brick-work re-dressed and painted a uniform 
bright red, but the landlord had reserved the 
right of external alterations, and so the Mills- 



214 st. olave's. 

many taste had to be confined to the garden, and 
interior decorations. 

The pleached alleys, and trim, fancifully- cut 
box trees at the back of the house, were hewn 
down, and their places supplied by an Italian 
garden, — a dazzling patchwork of many-coloured 
flower-beds, with a huge wire basket full of gera- 
niums in the middle, and plaster-of-Paris statues 
disposed at judicious intervals. Brilliant amber 
curtains, with gilded cornices of the latest design, 
draped the heavy mullioned windows of the 
drawing-room ; the oaken furniture, that matched 
so well with the polished wainscotting and cathe- 
dral outlook of the room, was replaced by rose- 
wood and amber damask ; and Mrs. Grey's 
Dresden china and antique ornaments gave way 
before a motley array of fancy scent-bottles, 
papier-mache cases, wax flowers, and little bits of 
knick-knackery, which made the place look alto- 
gether like a Roman matron — the mother of the 
Gracchi, for instance, decked out in crinoline and 
a ball dress. 

The Position Committee, with Mrs. Scrymgeour 
at its head, " sat " upon the Bullenses soon after 
their arrival, and unanimously placed them in 



st. olave's. 215 

one of the back apartments of the social edifice, 
quite beyond the pale of cards or civilities of any 
description. Mrs. and the Misses Bullens, in 
blissful ignorance of the locality assigned them, 
prepared to receive the homage which they 
doubted not wonld be tendered to their long 
purses. Accordingly, after making a magnificent 
appearance at church, they arrayed themselves 
in flounced silks, and sat in state morning after 
morning, waiting patiently for the cards that 
were never sent, and the callers that never 
came. 

They did not trouble themselves much, how- 
ever, about the mistake into which they had 
fallen ; finding that St. Olave's was not 
productive in the social department, they consoled 
themselves by a liberal allowance of champagne 
dinners, gay dresses, and as much gaiety, in the 
way of balls and assemblies, as could be got 
without a voucher. Meanwhile, the goodly fel- 
lowship of the Close families looked on with a 
grim smile ; outwardly scorning the pretentious 
display of the new-comers, but inwardly chafing, 
though they would not allow it to themselves, at 
the cast-iron barriers of conventionality, which 



216 st. olave's. 

prevented the golden current of the Millsmany 
wealth from uniting itself with their unblemished 
centuries of Norman blood. 



Captain Clay, though a worldly man,, was not 
hard-hearted. Finding that Miss Brandon, as 
she was now called, was left entirely dependent, 
he gave for her use the cottage at Norlands, 
together with the little garden immediately sur- 
rounding it. The moors and pasture lands, which 
belonged to the estate, were let separately. He 
also allowed her a stipend of fifty pounds a 
year, to be paid to her out of the rental of the 
St, Olave's property, which had formerly belonged 
to Mistress Amiel Grey. This was to be con- 
tinued until such time as she married, or was 
able in some way to earn her own living. Miss 
Luokie's friends exerted themselves in her behal f 
with such diligence that, within a month from 
the breaking up of the establishment at the Old 
Lodge, she was once more safely installed into 
her post at the Low Gardens, with the privileges 
and immunities pertaining thereto. Alice staid 
with Miss Bruce until Mrs. Cromarty, who 
steadily refused to quit the service of her young 



st. olave's. 217 

mistress, had got the Norlands Cottage into 
grder; and then she went there, to live, with 
such patience and fortitude as she could, the new, 
strangely straitened life which had been portioned 
out to her. 

Alice was too self-unconscious to be proud. 
That very guileless, unthinking simplicity of 
nature which would prevent her from reaching to 
any very lofty height of womanly greatness, kept 
her also from the painful smart of wounded 
dignity, which to many suffering under a grief 
like hers would have been intolerable. 

And even the love so heartlessly thrown back 
upon her, had not wrought its way far down into 
the depths of her nature. It had never as yet 
compassed her whole capacity of enjoying and 
suffering, or become a real influence in her life 
for good or evil. True, it was such a love as 
many, perhaps most, women marry and "live 
happily ever afterwards " upon ; perhaps, also, 
it was such a love as might have served her, too, 
until compliments and caresses began to pall both 
upon the giver and receiver of them. But the 
loss of it did not blast her life. It did not, like 
some wounds which God sends, leave a scar 



218 

which neither heaven nor earth can ever wholly 
heal. She let it go from her as children watch 
the death of some pet creature which has fed 
from their hands,, and amused them with its 
pretty ways. She wept and bewailed much, but 
the capacity of enjoying and loving remained still. 
A few weeks, perhaps a few months, and the 
wound might be quite healed ; and this not 
because she was either shallow or heartless, but 
simply because the young nature holds nothing 
with an unyielding grasp. 

Alice had not lost her youthfulness of heart. 
It was well for her that the first great trial of her 
life came while as yet she had elasticity enough 
to meet and overmaster it. It belongs not to the 
first years of life to sorrow lastingly over any- 
thing that mars their sunshine. Perhaps, too, 
she bore her double loss better, the loss of fortune 
and the loss of affection, because she could not 
at once realize all its meaning. Self-denial, 
economy, retrenchment — these were words which 
had no meaning for Alice. She knew that a very 
different life to the one she had hitherto lived, 
waited for her now; but she committed herself 
to the exigencies of her new position in the same 



st. olave's. 219 

blind faith with which she had looked forward, a 
little while before, to the responsibilities of the 
feminine pastorate, trusting that ability would 
somehow come with necessity. And not until 
some months of the new life, with its unaccus- 
tomed trials and pinching privations had passed 
away, did her spirit falter or her little heart give 
way. 

The day after that other letter had been posted, 
Janet sat down and wrote to her brother again ; 
giving him, in her plain, simple, straight-forward 
way, a full account of the reverses which had 
befallen Alice, the breaking off of the marriage, 
the loss of fortune, position, name, — everything in 
fact but the little cottage at Norlands, and the 
scanty pittance which was scarce enough to keep 
her from absolute want. She told him of her 
bringing the poor, friendless girl home to West- 
wood for awhile ; and then, which was a far harder 
thing to tell, of Alice's relationship to Mrs. 
Edenall and Douglas Ramsay. 

This letter she sent to Leipsic, to the same 
address as the previous one. In the next letter 
which she received from David Bruce, he alluded 
to none of the facts she had mentioned. He ex- 



220 

pressed a little kind, brotherly sympathy with her 
in the troubles through which she had herself 
passed, and in a few brief words told her how 
closely through those weeks of anxiety she had 
been held in his memory and prayers. But there 
was no word of pity for Alice, nor of sorrow for 
the great grief which had come upon her. It 
seemed as if both in prosperity and adversity he 
would put her from his thoughts, and suffer the 
past to be as though it had never been. Janet 
wondered. But she had unbounded faith in her 
brother, and she took it for granted that his 
silence was the silence of wisdom. Perhaps the 
old dream had faded quite away now, and a new 
love, brighter, more prosperous, risen from the 
ashes of the past. Still, it would have been so 
easy to have sent one little word of pity, to have 
said that he remembered her, or was sorry for 
her. 

Alice staid at Westwood three weeks. Janet's 
tender loving-kindness, so silent, but so true, did 
her much good. She learned not to forget her 
sorrow, but to receive it humbly, reverently, 
as something whereby she might reach to a 
purer life. Gradually the bitterness of it wore 



221 

away. The old look, not quite so bright, perhaps, 
but quiet and peaceful still, came back to her 
young face, and at times she was almost buoyant 
again. Alice might make a noble woman yet, 
nobler far than if this sorrow had never come. 
The force which it opposed to the playful current 
of her former life woke up courage and resolution. 
She must do and endure now, not simply enjoy; 
and when this lesson is once learned, the founda- 
tion of worthy character is laid. 

Often in their long conversations they had 
spoken of the wayward, fitful, suffering woman 
whose strange fate had cast a shadow over the 
Westwood home, but as yet Janet had found no 
words to tell Alice how closely her own life was 
linked with that of Mrs. Edenall. Over and 
over again, in her innocent, unconscious talk, 
Alice had trodden on the very verge of the great 
secret, and as often had Janet shrunk from telling 
her all the truth. 

When duty led the way, Janet never flinched. 
Had she known for certain that to tell Alice the 
facts of Mrs. Edenall's history was the best thing 
that could be done, she would have nerved herself 
for the task, and, at any expense of personal feel- 



222 st. olave's. 

ing, told her all that she ought to know. But 
she questioned with herself whether the revelation 
would bring good or ill. The shock might be too 
great for Alice just now. She often used to talk, 
in a vague, uncertain sort of way, of finding her 
parents. She seemed to cling to the hope that 
somehow or somewhere they would meet ; and to 
tell her of her utter loneliness might do more 
harm than good. The truth, however, came at 
last in its own time and way. 

It was one quiet, sunshiny evening, towards the 
close of Alice's stay, and she and Janet sat 
together in the open bow-window of the West- 
wood parlour. They had been consulting about 
the future, what could be made of it. Janet was 
trying to contrive some plan by which Alice might 
eke out the small stipend which Captain Clay 
allowed, so as to make it cover needful household 
expenses. After the subject had been carefully 
discussed, Alice took out Aunt AmiePs letter 
from her desk. She had never read it since that 
fateful night when its contents wrought such 
terrible grief for her. 

As she opened it, there fell out the little note 
which Mistress Grey had enclosed, but which Alice 



st. olave's. 223 

as yet had never read, thinking that it had only 
come there by chance. It was very old and 
yellow ,and had a musty smell, something like 
the chant and anthem books that had been 
mouldering for years in the organ pew at St. 
Olave's cathedral. This was all the note con- 
tained — 

" To Mistress Amiel Grey. Madam, — I am 
authorized by the friends of the woman, Marian 
Brandon, who is now under restraint in conse- 
quence of mental derangement, to inform you that 
they fully comply with your requirements regard- 
ing the infant which you have undertaken to rear. 
For the future no claim will be made upon it by 
any of the Brandon family, and the disposal of it 
is left to your sole control. 

" I am, madam, yours respectfully, 

" Augustus Brandon." 

There was an engraved crest upon this sheet of 
paper, surmounted by a motto. Alice examined 
it carefully. She knew a little about heraldry, 
for Mistress Amiel Grey, with the pride of old 
aristocratic descent, had often shown her the 
Grey and Grisby crests, together with others 



224 

belonging to the Close families, and explained to 
her the origin of the different devices. This one 
was an open hand, pierced with a dart. Above 
was the motto, " Post tenebra lux" 

"Miss Bruce/'' said Alice, after awhile, "I 
have seen this crest before, on a handkerchief of 
Mrs. EdenalPs. There was a name, too, but I 
forget it now. What was Mrs. EdenalFs maiden 
name, do you know V 9 

The truth could not be concealed any longer 
now. Janet took both Alice's hands in hers, and 
looking earnestly into her face, said — 

"Alice, I am going to tell you something 
that may be very painful to you; can you 
bear it ?" 

"I think I can. You told me once that 
suffering was never too hard to be borne, so long 
as there was no sin in it, and I don't know that I 
have been doing anything wrong." 

" This Mrs. Edenall, Alice, who lived with us 
so long, was your mother ; her name was Marian 
Brandon. We never knew it until after she was 
dead. She did not know either that you were 
her child. They told her a long time ago that 
you were dead, and she believed it." 



st. olave's. 225 

Alice seemed neither shocked nor startled. She 
bent down, hiding her face on Janet Bruce's 
knee. Janet thought she would have wept or 
trembled — she did neither. Over and over again 
she whispered to herself, " Mamma, Mrs. Eden- 
all V 3 By-and-by she lifted herself up, and look- 
ing into Janet's eyes with a long, earnest, ques- 
tioning gaze, she said — 
" And my father, Janet ?" 
" Your father was Douglas Ramsay." 



VOL. III. 



226 



CHAPTER XIX. 



LICE BRANDON went back to Nor- 
lands towards the end of August, as 
^-tf^-Ja the cornfields began to golden, and the 



MI 
mm 



sportsmen's guns to echo over the far-reaching 
purple moorlands. And not till then did she 
realize the change which had come over her 
life. 

At Westwood, Janet Bruce's tenderness had 
sheltered her from much that was painful in her 
new position. She had not felt its loneliness. 
So long as she could nestle up to some faithful 
heart, and clasp a friendly hand in hers, Alice 
was not unhappy. Then, too, she had not known 
the pinching grip of poverty, nor been exposed to 



st. olave's. 227 

the altered behaviour of people who had once 
courted and flattered her. 

The Close families did not wish to ignore Alice, 
— oh ! no, they were far too magnanimous for 
that. They would even take the trouble to come 
all the way across the road if they chanced to 
meet her; extending to her their dainty finger 
tips, and smiling with a sweet condescension, 
which seemed to say, " See how compassionate we 
are ; you have no position now, not the slightest 
claim upon our notice, yet look, we do not scorn 
you ; we are quite ready to shake hands with you 
and show you how forgiving we can be to the sin 
which has made you what you are." And 
then with a smile and a bow they would sail 
away. 

Alice had not much pride in her heart, but she 
had enough to perceive this altered demeanour, 
and shrink from it. By-and-by she rarely ventured 
into St. Olave's, except in early morning time, 
before the fashionable folks had turned out for 
thsir daily airing ; or, if she chanced to meet 
them, she would quietly slip aside into one of the 
dim little alleys that turned out of the main 
streets, and hide there until they had passed. 

Q 2 



228 

Soon she was completely forgotten amongst them. 
They ceased to speak or think of her. As a 
chance remark brought her name to the surface 
of their idle gossip, it would be mentioned with 
a " poor thing " sort of commiseration ; but even 
this wore out at last, and ere the autumn leaves 
which were to have fallen upon her bridal home 
had drifted away, the memory of Alice Grey was 
forgotten. 

And so the time wore on until September, the 
seventh of September, Alice's birthday, and David 
Bruce's birthday, too. She remembered that 
when she woke in the morning, and mingled his 
name with her own in her simple prayer. 

The day dawned brightly as its companion day 
had dawned twelve months ago. The browning 
cornfields waved in the sunshine ; the trees put on 
their golden September coronals. The wold hills 
and purple uplands gave Alice a greeting bright as 
ever ; others might forget, but they smiled upon 
her friendly still. No dainty little pink-edged 
notes of congratulation came to the cottage that 
day, though ; no gay ladies in cloud-tinted muslins 
alighted at the garden gate with compliments and 
greetings for Miss Grey ; no sumptuous luncheon 



st. olave's. 229 

was spread upon the lawn, and there were no 
longer any dancers to the music of the itinerant 
German band which came to Norlands in the 
afternoon, remembering how well they had fared 
there only a year ago. 

Miss Luckie sent a wee little letter, half of 
sympathy, half congratulation. She was confined 
to her room with a sprained ancle, and could not 
offer her good wishes in person. That was all the 
postman brought. Not a note from Janet, nor 
even — poor Alice fondly hoped he might have re- 
membered her birthday as she had thought of 
his — not even a line from David Bruce, to saw 
that he grieved with her for the great sorrow 
which had darkened all her life. Was he too 
going to fail her — the strong, true, steady friend 
whose very name had always been a rest ? 

The morning passed wearily on. Alice had a 
great pile of household linen to mend, which Mrs. 
Cromarty brought in from the monthly wash. 
The dainty little fingers, so long used to only 
fairy-like fancy work, were growing skilful in 
coarser service now. But it was a weary task after 
all, for no pleasant thoughts wove themselves 
into the work ; no rippling smile came and went 



230 

upon her face ; no dreams of coming joy made 
music on the silence of her life any more. 

Alice sighed very wearily, and pressed her fin- 
gers over her aching eyeballs to keep back the 
starting tears. A cool hand was laid upon her 
forehead. Janet Bruce' s lips touched her own. 

" Alice, I have come to spend the day with 
you." 

And the kind, close, tender hand-clasp told her 
all the rest. No need for spoken sympathy or 
half sad congratulations ; Miss Bruce seldom gave 
either. To feel her near, was quite enough for 
Alice. 

In the afternoon they sauntered out into the 
garden, and took their work into a little arbour 
formed of honeysuckle and ivy, close upon the 
beech tree hedge, which divided the Norlands gar- 
den from the high road. It was not a day for 
talking much. There was a drowsy, slumbrous 
feel in the air, and to listen to the flutter of 
the elm tree leaves, or the murmuring plash of 
the Luthen on the rocks below, was pleasanter 
than any speech. 

l( Janet/'' Alice said at last, not in the old, free- 



st. olave's. 231 

hearted way in which she used to speak of him, 
but very shyly — " This is Mr. Bruce's birthday 
as well as mine. I thought of him this morning. " 

Oh, how Janet wished she could tell the poor 
girl that in her sorrow David had remembered her 
too. But she could not say it. 

" Have you heard of him lately, Janet ? " 

" I have, Alice ; only a day or two ago." 

" And did he — has he said anything about — did 
he say he was sorry for me — does he think aboucl; 
me now ? Perhaps he does not know." 

"Yes, Alice, I told him, but " 

If Janet Bruce had had half the tact that some 
people possess, she would have called imagination 
to her aid and tossed up some neat little extempore 
message of kind remembrances, condolences, or 
something of the sort. But Janet had no imagi- 
nation, except what was strictly reined in by 
truthfulness. What she knew to be truth she 
spoke, and nothing more. She was grieved and 
perplexed. Never before had her brother's strange 
behaviour so pained her. 

" He does not mention you at all. Sometimes 
Davie is very silent about things that lie near to 
his heart." 



232 st. olave's. 

Alice looked away over the harvest fields. 
She could see the track through which, 
just twelve months ago, they two had walked 
home in the quiet evening. She remembered 
what he had said then, his face as he bent 
down to twine those wheat ears in her hair. 
Had he, too, forgotten all? Were men all 
alike faithless and deceiving? 

" Mr. Bruce used to be very kind to me once," 
she said, not bitterly, but with a quiet sort of 
sadness ; and then she turned her face away, and 
though Janet could not see them, she heard the 
slow tears come falling one by one like rain drops 
on the ivy leaves. 

She let the young girl weep on for a while ; 
then she said to her in that patient, peaceful voice 
whose very tone was a benediction — 

" Alice, by-and-by you will see to the end of 
this ; I mean this trouble that has changed your 
life so. God deals our lives out to us by a link at 
a time, keeping all the rest in His own hand. What 
we can do is just to wait patiently. He has pro- 
mised, you know, that those who fear Him shall 
not want any good thing." 

" Yes. Mrs. Cromarty was reading that to me 



st. olave's. 233 

only this morning. I think it was out of the 
Psalms. But, Janet, He is taking all my good 
things away. I have nobody left now but you and 
Mrs. Cromarty. Is that not wanting any good 
thing V 

Janet remembered the time, long ago now, 
when her own heart asked the same question. 
She paused for a little while. It was not her way 
to speak often on religious subjects, least of all 
those which touched her own past life. It cost her 
very much to break through the reserve which 
folded over all her inner life. 

u Alice," she said reverently, " God's good 
things are" sometimes very different from ours. 
You know His ways are not as our ways. We 
think that happiness, and home, and love, a quiet 
heart and faithful friends, are good things; but 
God sees that they will not always do for us, and 
so instead of them He gives great pain and sor- 
row. But Alice, if God sends even these, we may 
be quite sure they are ( good things/ We shall 
see it so by-and-by." 

" I don't know," said Alice wearily. " Janet, do 
you think I shall ever be happy again ?" 

"Yes. God nqver spoils our lives for us. Nothing 



234 

that He sends is meant to crush us. Just the 
old sort of happiness, light and unthinking and 
careless, may not come back ; but instead of it we 
get peace, — deep, still, unbroken peace. Alice, I 
am quite sure that suffering never comes for any- 
thing else than this — to make us ready for the 
peace that lies beyond it." 

Janet had never spoken to Alice in this way 
before, never had she put aside her natural 
reticence and spoken so freely of the truths which 
through a long life of patient waiting, she had 
learned. But listening to them, Alice felt her 
soul gain strength. Perhaps it was their simple, 
personal truthfulness which made them precious. 
What she had known and felt, nothing but that, 
Janet Bruce declared. 

Preachers speak to us, out of church pulpits, of 
grief; of the sorrow which, like the centaur's 
poisoned tunic, clings to human life. They talk 
of patience, resignation — they exhort us to suffer 
out our three score years, and travel through this 
lonely path meekly and without a murmur. And 
then they put off their canonicals and go to their 
happy firesides, where loving wives wait for them, 
where child voices greet them, and soft child arms 



st. olave's. 235 

are stretched out to clasp them. What do they 
know of sorrow ? What right have they to teach 
others how to hear it ? That is the best sermon, 
the most useful one, which many a suffering 
woman like Janet Bruce preaches from day to day 
by the silent influence of example, by little deeds 
of kindness, little words of love, coming warm and 
fresh from a heart which has learned from its own 
grief to touch all other sorrow with gentle 
reverence. 

After this they were silent again for a long time. 
The Luthen babbled noisily on its way, slipping 
from rock to rock, and weltering in mazy circles 
round its tangled tresses of river weed. There 
,ame from the distant cornfields the sound of 
reapers' voices, the merry laugh of sunburnt girls 
binding up the sheaves, or little children garland- 
ing each other with the loose ears that fell from 
the loaded waggons as they wound slowly through 
the meadows. And, at intervals, the Cathedral bell 
slowly rung out the quarters with a lazy boom that 
scarcely seemed to stir the air. 

Presently, upon the high road, footsteps were 
heard coming nearer j and voices, or rather a voice, 
for it was only one that they could hear distinctly. 



236 

The speaker was Cuthbert Scrymgeour. He 
was talking in very low, gentle tones, jnst like those 
which Alice Grey had learned to know so well, 
whose loss left such a blank in the mnsic of her 
life. The thick birch hedge hid him and his com- 
panion, whoever that companion might be, from 
view ; but as they passed the arbour it needed not 
a very quick ear to catch those daintily-modulated 
accents. 

" Blanche, Blanche," that luring voice said, 
u how can you doubt me ? That child only woke 
a passing fancy. I never loved but you." 

There was a soft, gentle, cooing reply, that only 
Cuthbert Scrymgeour and the fluttering leaves 
might hear. Janet took Alice's cold, nerveless 
hand and led her away. For a while the poor 
girl seemed stunned and bewildered. Then she 
lifted her face to Janet. It was very pale, and the 
sudden cramp of pain had scarce smoothed out 
from the forehead. 

" Janet, I thought awhile ago that Cuthbert' s 
love was one of the ' good things' that God had 
given me. I don't think so now." 



237 




CHAPTER XX. 

|T was well for Alice that she had heard 
those chance words. They gave her 

j strength for the life that came after. 
They swept away the last lingering cobwebs of 
hope, and left her heart empty, and swept, and 
garnished. Before that September afternoon the 
thought had not quite died out, that Cuthbert 
Scrymgeour might come back to her again. Her 
own nature was very trusting ; she did not know 
how easy it is for some people to forget. And so 
long as the thought of his return was cherished, 
she could not settle down patiently to the stern, 
dry realities of the life that lay before her. Now 
however, all was over. That short six months of 



238 st. olave's. 

trusting happy love must be laid quite away, 
remembered no more again for ever. And though 
the thought of his faithlessness came very bitterly 
over her sometimes, it was better, far better, that 
she should know the worst. 

The pinching hand of poverty began to be 
very painfully felt now in the little house at 
Norlands. Punctually at the appointed time 
Captain Clay's solicitor forwarded the quarterly 
stipend of twelve pounds, but notwithstanding all 
their care, it melted away long before the next 
was due. To eke it out, Mrs. Cromarty began to 
take in washing. Her fame in the getting up of 
fine linen was unrivalled, and in this way she was 
able to add a few shillings weekly to the little 
store. She would fain have laboured morning, 
noon, and night to save her young mistress from 
the need of toil ; but Alice would not suffer this, 
and roused herself , too, to the unwonted task of 
bread- winning. She was very skilful in all kinds of 
fancy work. Most of her friends — the friends who 
never noticed her now — had had themselves or 
their rooms decorated with some specimens of her 
handiwork in the shape of embroidery or painting. 
Her leather work used to be the admiration of the 



239 

Close ; shew as never tired of surprising her friends 
with dainty little bouquets of flowers, modelled by 
her own deft fingers, or slipping into their favourite 
books the tastiest little markers of broidered silk, 
or garnishing their work-baskets unawares with 
pincushions of all shapes and makes. She sought 
now to turn this skill to some useful purpose, by 
getting orders for fancy-work from the Berlin 
shops, of which there were many in St. Olave's, or 
doing crochet and netted covers, which Mrs 
Cromarty tried to dispose of for her. But the 
profits of these things were very precarious. Often, 
after she had spent days and days over some elabo- 
rate cushion or anti -macassar, it would be refused 
by shop after shop, and finally returned upon her 
hands as unsaleable. Even when she could find a 
market for her wares, the profit upon them, after 
all the materials were bought and paid for, was 
very small ; most of the shops got their fancy things 
from Germany, and labour there was plentiful. 

Then she turned her attention to fine needle- 
work. Here, too, she met with but little success 
There was a great surplus of female population in 
St. Olave's, as, indeed, there appears to be in most 
Cathedral cities ; and ladies who had nothing else 



240 st. olave's. 

to do with their time, gossipped it away at sewing 
meetings, greatly to the detriment, not only of 
private character, bnt also of the poor unfortunates 
who were dependent for a livelihood on the 
scanty pittance they could earn by plain sewing. 

Vainly Mrs. Cromarty took the crescents and 
terraces of St. Olave's by house-row, in quest of 
work. The ladies preferred having their linen 
made up at sewing meetings ; the work was better, 
and the cost less, besides the satisfaction of en- 
couraging charitable objects. Nay, even some of 
the good people themselves, at whose doors Mrs. 
Cromarty and others like her sought employ- 
ment, were in treaty for the taking in of plain 
sewing, and were open to engagements for shirt - 
making at a lower figure than would remunerate 
the poor sempstress who had her living to make out 
of the profits. 

Finding that she could gain little or nothing 
by this sort of industry, Alice bethought herself of 
copying music. She knew that she did it very 
beautifully, quite as well as any professional hand. 
David Bruce had told her that, she remembered 
with a sigh. Ah ! she often thought of David 
Bruce now, and longed for his strong arm to rest 



st. olave's. 241 

upon. But he had forgotten her in her need. 
Janet rarely mentioned his name, or if Alice spoke 
it herself, said little of him. Something, or some 
one, had come between them. Perhaps he would 
marry some dark-eyed Italian girl, or flaxen-haired 
German Fraulein and she would never be remem- 
bered more. The thought of this gave Alice more 
pain than she cared to own. 

After Mr. Bruce gave up the Cathedral organ, 
his place was supplied for a month or two by a 
young man from St. Olave's, until the Dean and 
Chapter had time to look out for a competent 
musician. They had fixed upon one at last, a 
graduate from Oxford, Professor Bright. He was 
dependent, as David Bruce had been, on his salary, 
but he lived in lodgings, and had no one but himself 
to support, so that he was not so straitened as the 
Westwood people were on their first arrival. 
Moreover, he brought one or two good introductions 
with him, which set him afloat at once amongst 
the Close families, and gave him standing room in 
one of the front apartments of the social edifice. 
He was a clever little man, tolerably fond of his 
profession, though not bringing to it the love and 

VOL. III. R 



242 st. olave's. 

reverence — to say nothing of the genius — which 
David Bruce did. 

To Professor Bright, therefore, Alice went, 
taking with her some specimens of her skill in 
this department of art. He was a stranger, and 
had not known her in the days of her prosperity, 
or perhaps she dare not have faced his questions 
and criticisms. He received her kindly. The 
help which she could afford would he really valua- 
ble to him — though the Professor was too much a 
man of the world to let her know that — and he 
made an arrangement with her to copy out the 
chants used hy the choristers in their daily prac- 
tice. He agreed to give her sixpence a page for all 
that she did for him. If he could have supplied 
her with work enough to keep her continually 
employed, she might have earned a considerable 
sum in this way; hut the amount of copy re- 
quired was uncertain. Sometimes for a week or 
two together, no new chants or anthems were in- 
troduced, and then she was thrown back upon 
her scanty supply of needlework. However she 
toiled on patiently, and at last her own earnings, 
with those of Mrs. Cromarty, and the stipend 
furnished by Captain Clay, sufficed to keep them 



st. olaye's. 243 

from actual want. Of the future, the long, dark, 
dreary future which lay before her, — of the time 
when Mrs. Cromarty or Janet Bruce might be 
parted from her, Alice dared not think. She 
began to learn the invaluable art of taking " short 
views/' and suffered the morrow to take thought 
for itself. 

When Alice came to Norlands, from Westwood, 
she brought with her all Mrs. EdenalFs property, 
in the shape of clothes, books, jewellery, &c. There 
was also the desk in which Mrs. Edenall kept her 
papers, but into this, as yet, Alice had not had 
courage to look. Indeed, that relationship scarce 
appeared to be a real thing. She thought of it 
with a dim, misty sort of bewilderment. Even the 
graves ot her parents at Norlands, those nameless 
mounds greening day by day in the sunshine, had 
no memories for her, and woke no tears. All of 
love and tenderness that she could remember, 
clustered round Mrs. Amiel Grey, the Aunt Amiel 
of that old happy time ; and to her stately marble 
canopied tomb in St. Olave's cathedral, Alice 
never dared to go now. 

From time to time there came to Westwood 
tidings of David Bruce, but no word of his return 

B 2 



244? st. olave's. 

home; and, stranger still, no mention of Alice. 
He was making himself a great name in the musical 
world. Sundry of the upper ten of St. Olave's, 
who had been touring it on the Continent, came 
back with glowing accounts of the distinction with 
which their old fellow-citizen as everywhere re- 
ceived. He was now residing at Munich, where he 
had made his first public appearance abroad. He 
devoted himself heart and soul to his profession, 
and his musical reputation was yielding him 
a goodly harvest of wealth as well as popularity. 
He never told Janet much of his successes, but 
she heard of them through the leading musical 
journals of the day, which were proud enough to 
chronicle the triumphs of British genius in the 
fastidious circles of Continental elite. He seldom 
mentioned the past either now, and the little 
inquiries about St. Olave's and its concerns, 
which once showed how tenderly he remembered 
the place, were gradually ceasing. His letters 
were chiefly occupied with details of his daily 
home life, sketches of Continental scenery, or 
anecdotes of the distinguished people with whom 
he mixed. And for her own part, Janet confined 
herself to Westwood news. After that first letter 



in which he had so studiously ignored the mention 
of Alice and her affairs, his sister had taken the 
hint and given him no further information re- 
specting her. And so that friendship, with all 
both of joy and disappointment that it had 
brought, seemed to be finally wound up. Janet 
could not account for her brother's silence, but 
she had unbounded faith in his truth, and she 
waited for time to solve the mystery. 

In December, the Cathedral bells rang 
out a merry peal, and carriages with outriders in 
scarlet liveries and white satin favours careered 
hither and thither across the quiet Close. The 
marriage of Cuthbert Scrymgeour and Miss 
Egerton was the great event of the St. Olave's 
season. People said it was the most elegant wed- 
ding that had taken place in the Close since the 
late Bishop's daughter was married, thirty years 
ago, to the eldest son of Lord Granby. Very 
magnificent the bride looked in her trailing gar- 
ments of white satin, with a wreath of lotus 
flowers crowning her braided hair, and a Honiton 
lace veil softening the lustre of her Spanish 
beauty. The ceremony was performed in the 
Cathedral by the Lord Bishop of St. Olave's 



246 st. olave's. 

himself, Dr. Standish ; Professor Bright presiding 
at the organ, and the singers performing a ful 
choral service. A beautiful wedding, people 
said it was, and very stately, as befitted every- 
thing conducted by Mrs. Archdeacon Scrym- 
geour. 

The bride and groom spent their honeymoon in 
Rome, staying for a week in Paris as they came 
home. On their return, the Close was all alive for 
a few weeks with bridal parties, balls, suppers, 
dinners, assemblies, in fact a Festival on a small 
scale. After New Year's Eve, Mr. and Mrs. 
Cuthbert settled down to the cure of souls at 
Grassthorpe Rectory, and things came back to 
their old track. The Close turned itself over and 
went to sleep as soundly as ever ; the saints and 
martyrs on the Cathedral front donned their 
nightcaps of snow, and the whole place resumed 
its staid, hoary stillness. 

Alice knew that the marriage was to take 
place ; but when and where, she had not heard. 
That very morning she came to the Cathedral 
with some chants which she had been copying for 
Professor Bright. She had hurried to get there 
before morning service began, and the Close 



st. olave's. 247 

people were about. Generally at that hour of the 
day scarce a footstep disturbed the hush of the 
place, but to her surprise the nave this morning 
was scattered with groups of idlers who gradually 
formed themselves into a line between the long 
range of pillars that led to the choir entrance. 
She took her roll of music to the organist and was 
paid for it. 

" What does the crowd mean, Smith ?" she 
asked of the bellows-man, who stood at the door 
of his little den. 

u It's a wedding, Miss. I thought all the 
place would ha' knowed ; the Rev. Mr. Scrym- 
geour and Miss Egerton. Whisht, stand back, 
here's the procession a cominV 

" Alice had just time to retreat within the nar- 
row doorway, ere a dozen snowdrifts in the shape 
of as many bridesmaids,, in tulle veils and flowing 
robes of muslin, came fluttering past her ; then 
there was a murmur of excitement amongst the 
ladies, and presently Blanche Egerton, in all 
the splendour of her brunette beauty floated up 
the broad aisle, leaning on the arm of the mil- 
lionaire grandsire, whose scrip and three-per-cents 
had won her the position which she graced so well. 



248 st. olave's. 

Her dark eyes gleamed through the lace that 
veiled her like a mist, there was a scarlet flush on 
her cheek, and with every step the lotus 
blossoms in her hair shook out a waft of perfume. 
As the procession moved slowly up the choir, a 
burst of jubilant musicpealed forth from the organ. 

" Please to let me pass/' Alice said, opening the 
little door through whose chinks she had watched 
the fairy-like vision. It was Mrs. Bullens, whose 
portly figure barred the way. 

" Dearie me, won't ye stop, and see ; em come 
out ? They say the bridegroom's beautiful, such 
a handsome man V 

" Please let me pass/' said Alice, again, 
faintly. 

She pulled her crape veil down over her face, 
and hurried through the gaping throng. No one 
took any notice of her ; or if they did, thought 
that she might be some milliner's apprentice, who 
had just darted in to see the show, and was afraid 
of being late at her work. 

She went through the little west door that led 
into the Close, the nearest way to Norlands Lane ; 
passing on her way the gates of the Old Lodge, 
from which she once thought to have passed, a 



st. olave's. 249 

bride. Poor Alice ! and it was only a twelve- 
month this very day, since Cuthbert Scrymgeour 
in that little wainscotted room, whose mullioned 
window she conld see through the trees, had 
claimed her for his wife. 



250 



CHAPTER XXI. 




WHOLE year dragged slowly, 
wearily on. Then David Bruce 
came home. He sent no word 
of his coming. He would fain steal quietly 
into the old city ; and, even before any home- 
greeting had been given him; wander unre- 
cognized once more, and perhaps for the last time, 
round its old familiar haunts. After that, if Janet 
wished it, they would go away. The place could 
be home to him no more now ; and he knew how 
silently she longed for their own country, for the 
old Court House at Perth, with its dark pine- 
woods, its outlook over the green and pleasant 
Inches, its friendships buried, but not forgotten, 



251 

its memories that could never die. Yes, they 
would go to Scotland again, and lie down to rest 
amidst the heather and the blue-bells. Only one 
more look at the old Cathedral city before it was 
left for ever. 

He reached St. Olave's in the dim grey twilight 
of a January afternoon. He left his luggage at 
the station, and sauntered slowly through the 
narrow, well-remembered streets. With a strange 
yet not all-painful feeling, he found himself once 
more beneath the quaint overhanging houses, 
with their black timber fronts and pointed gables. 
He turned his steps into the Cathedral Close. The 
swarthy Minster towers loomed grimly out upon 
the darkening sky ; with just the old weird, 
spirit-like wail, the wind came swooping down 
through the belfry windows. In the half-dark of 
early evening, no one recognized him — indeed, had 
it been broad daylight, few would have found in 
that bronzed and bearded stranger, with his foreign 
garb and lofty mien, much to remind them of the 
somewhat uncouth David Bruce, whom they had 
known two years ago. 

Lights were shining out from some of the Close 
houses. The Bullenses were having a grand party, 



252 st. olave's. 

chiefly merchant people from Millsmany — for they 
had not yet overcome the prejudices of the Close 
families — to celebrate the coming of age of the 
youngest son. The rooms were brilliantly illuminat- 
ed ; any passer-by might have heard strains of merry 
dance music, or, peering through the transparent 
lace curtains which draped the open windows, 
caught stray glimpses of ball-dresses all the colours 
of the rainbow, flashing hither and thither. 

David Bruce paused for awhile at the little gate 
which led out of the Lodge garden into the Close. 
The old porter who kept the boundaries was 
sauntering about, on the look-out for strangers. 
He sometimes earned a sixpence or two by giving 
them scraps of information about the Cathedral, or 
explaining the meaning of the grotesque figures 
that gaped down from the gurgoyles. David 
stopped, and entered into conversation with him. 

" The Old Lodge appears to have changed hands 
is*dy." 

' * ' Deed, sir, an' it has," replied the old man, 
looking keenly at him through his round spectacles. 
" Then ye're happen not a stranger i J the place. I 
took ye for one o' the folk fra furrin parts. We 
gets a sight o* furriners down here, sir." 



st. olave's. 253 

u Iam not a foreigner/' said Mr. Bruce, " and 
I do not belong to St. Olave's ; but I know a little 
of tlie city. Who occupies the Old Lodge now ?" 

" It's let, sir, to some people they call Bullens, 
cotton folk, sir, fra Millsmany," and the old man 
looked scornful ; he had the genuine St. Olave's 
blood in him. " They've a vast o' money, sir, but 
they ain't got no pedigree, and folks as hasn't got 
no pedigree isn't much thought on i 9 this here. 
The Bullenses has riz theirselves i' the world wi' 
cotton. The house were let, sir, when t' young 
leddy went away ; there's been a vast o' changes 
of a late i' the Old Lodge, sir, but happen ye know 
that." 

" Yes, said David, bitterly. " Mrs. Scrym- 
geour lives at Chapter House yet, I suppose ?" 

" Ay, marry, an' that she does. I reckon the 
Archdeacon's widdy thinks t' Minster couldn't 
hold itself together if she wasn't nigh hand to give 
an eye to it. But she goes a good bit to Grass- 
thorpe now, that's where her newy lives parson. 
You mind, maybe, she's got kin i' the Church." 

" Yes, so I have heard. He is lately married is 
he not?" 

" Ay, sir, nobbut a year ago. She wer? 



254 

over here last Monday was a week, and rare 
and viewly she looked. She's a beautiful young 
lady is Mrs. Cuthbert, and folks say she thinks all 
the world of her husband ; but then, sir, he's so 
handsome ; laws he's the handsomest man ever I 
see'd, and them's the sort as wins young leddies. 
It ain't inflect, nor a true heart, nor a bonnie 
temper as does it now-a-days, but just good looks. 
But they're well matched for she's as sweet a 
lady as ye need wish to set eyes on, is Mrs. Cuth- 
bert." 

Alice, Mrs. Cuthbert. There was no more Alice 
Grey for David now, only " Mrs. Cuthbert." 
What a chilly feel it had, to hear those two little 
words spoken out loud, though he had said them 
over and over in his thoughts until they seemed 
familiar as household^ words. "Mrs. Cuthbert." 
But the old man chattered on, stopping now and 
then to take a pinch of snuff out of the pocket of 
his rusty waistcoat. 

" Folks says she'll have a sight o' money. Mrs. 
Archdeacon wouldn't let her nevvy marry nobody 
as hadn't a big purse. He's a deal thought of 
about here, is Mr. Scrymgeour, 'cause he reads the 
prayers so beautiful j bless ye, sir, it's every bit 



st. olave's. 255 

as good as singing, the way he does 'em, wi' sich 
an air and such beautiful moves as makes all the 
young leddies i' the choir look at him instead o' 
keepin' agate wi' their prayer-books. He's goin' 
to do 'em to-morrow mornin' sir, cause of it bein'a 
Saint day, an' there's a dealo' extra singin' at sich 
times, more as I take it than God Almighty makes 
much count on ; but other folks knows better 'n 
me. I goes to the prayers reg'lar myself, but 
they ain't much yield's ever I see. Maybe ye 
wouldn't like me to show ye round the place, sir, 
it's light enough yet to see a good bit. A gentle- 
man gived me sixpence nobbut yesterday for 
showin' him the statties up o' the west front." 

David slipped a shilling into the old man's 
hand, but declined being shown round the building. 
" She thinks all the world of him." Well^that was 
just as it should be. He ought to have felt very 
glad to hear it, but somehow the gladness was not 
forthcoming. It was getting dark now, and he 
strode fiercely across the Close, as though tramp- 
ling down the bitter memories that rose. By the 
time he reached Westwood Lane, night had fallen, 
and with a pleasant friendly glow the lights of 
Westwood Cottage, his old home, flickered 



256 st. olave's. 

through the leafless branches of the chestnut and 
linden trees. 

Not fiercely now, but with slow, gentle footsteps, 
stooping down now and then to mark how the little 
snow-drops were pushing their white faces through 
the grass, he crossed the path and went round to 
the side door. 

Tibbie was sitting with her knitting by the 
kitchen fire. She heard some one coming, and 
taking up her little oil lamp, opened the door cau- 
tiously, for she had a genuine national aversion to 
" fremd folk," as she called them ; and except the 
postman, milkman, and an odd vagrant or two, 
masculine footsteps were seldom heard on that 
track. 

She did not wait to hear the stranger's errand, 
but holding the lamp so that its rays fell full upon 
his bearded face, she said in not the gentlest of 
accents — 

1 ' Gin ye be speerin' for my leddie, she's no' in, 
the nicht ; ye may ca' again i' the morn." And 
then she was about to shut the door in his face. 

David Bruce lifted his eyes to her with the look 
that used to be like sunshine in that home. 

" Tibbie, do ye no ken me ?" 



257 

Down went the lamp, oil and everything, on 
the clean stone flags. 

" Sure ! it's Maister Davit come home agin \" 
she said, shaking her blue check apron vehemently, 
as though setting away a brood of chickens ; — it 
was an outlet she had for expressing her feelings 
when they became too intense for words — (< Its 
Maister Davit come home ! Eh, but," and the old 
woman peered up into his travel-worn face with 
its new garniture, " Fm thinkin' ye're no ken- 
speckle to the maister as went awa', wi' a' thae 
hairy duds upo' the front o' ye. Come yer' ways 
ben/' and picking up the prostrate lamp, she led 
the way into the parlour. 

w Miss Janet's awa' sin' the morn, I didna' just 
speer at her whar she would gang, but I'm thinkin' 
she's visitin' upon her that was Miss Alice Grey . 
There's no Miss Grey the noo, Maister Davit; 
happen ye ken that." 

" Yes, Tibbie, I have heard it." 

That was all David Bruce said, but the voice 
was tired and faint-like, and as he said it he leaned 
wearily against the mantel-piece. 

" Ye're outworn the nicht, Maister," said Tibbie, 
bustling about, first in quest of his slippers, which 

VOL. III. s 



258 st. olave's. 

kept their old place in the corner closet, then to 
fetch his loose coat and some cushions for the great 
chair which she drew to the fireside. " Will I 
get yon the tea, and will ye he for scones or oat 
cake?" 

" When I'm rested, Tibbie, not now. I just 
want to be quiet. " 

" Ou ay, ye were aye for quietness, and I'll no 
keep ye back from it. Maybe ye'il just gang to 
sleep a wee bittie while Miss Janet comes hanie. 
An* will I bring ye the licht, or ye'U bide yer lane 
i' the gloamin'. Ye were fond o' the gloamin', 
Maistcr Davit." 

" And I think the gloamin' is fond of me, Tibbie. 
No, I won't have the lamp, thank you; and don't 
let me keep you away from your knitting any 
longer/' 

She left him, giving an eye first round the 
little room to see that all was tidy. But, before 
she finally shut the door, she stood on the 
threshold a moment or two for a leisurely view 
of him — just an honest, faithful, affectionate look 
at the maister, who had been " aye glide to 
her sin' he was a wee bit laddie i' the Pairth 
noose." 



st. olave's. 259 

" He's unco' still the nicht," she said to her- 
self, when she was once more settled down by the 
kitchen fire with her knitting — " He's unco' still 
the nicht. I'm thinkin' some o' thae foreign 
lasses has cast the glamour over him, and we'll 
be havin' a weddin' afore lang. He needna have 
sought so far for a bride, if bonnie Miss Alice — 
bless her ! — had held her ain a wee bit langer. 
He'd no have cast her off for want o' the siller, 
as yon fair-faced Southron has done." 

Meanwhile, Janet Bruce was making her way 
home, slowly and thoughtfully, from the cottage 
at Norlands. 



s2 



260 



CHAPTER XXII. 



Mi 



TITH WmFII-UtU. 



HEN Tibbie had gone, David sat 
p down in tlie great chair, which 
she had drawn to the fire, and his 
eye slowly wandered over the familiar little room 
with the restful look of one who comes home 
again after long absence. Nothing in it was 
changed from that other night, two years ago 
now, when he had returned from London, flushed 
with success and full of bright expectancy. The 
success was his still, proud as ever it had been, 
bnt the hope was away. 

Tibbie had tidied up the room a little while 
before, ready for Janet's return. The firelight 
skimmed daintily over the silver-traceried paper, 



st. olave's. 26 1 

and pencilled out upon the white blind the deli- 
cate outline of the ivy leaves, which, winter and 
summer, Janet always kept in the little vase 
upon the window-seat. His music table stood 
in the corner, by the piano, with writing mate- 
rials and manuscripts upon it, just as he used to 
leave them when he was busy over the copying out 
of " Jael;" and beside them was Janet's work- 
basket, with the perennial little half-finished sock, 
and her favourite book, " Thoughts of Peace/' 
lying on the top, as she had left them when she 
went out. Even the great arm-chair where he 
was sitting — there was a thin place on the horse- 
hair covering of one of the arms — how well he 
remembered, that dim November afternoon before 
he went to London, how Alice had sat beside him 
on the footstool, and amused herself by pulling 
out the long hairs and plaiting them into fanciful 
knots, as she leaned her head down upon his 
knee. Now that bright head had another resting- 
place. Alice — " Mrs. Cuthbert Scrymgeour." 
David turned sharply round, so that he might not 
see the worn place. What a different coming 
home this was ! Placing side by side the David 
Bruce of to-night and the David Bruce of two 



2C>2 ST. OLAVE'S. 

years ago, he scarce could know them for the 
same. 

What a strange collection that would be, if one 
could gather together the cast-off garments which 
the soul has worn ! — the vestures of old hopes, 
joys, longings, which clothed us once, but have 
been clutched away by the iron-strong fingers of 
Fate, or rent by the thorns of disappointment, or 
have fallen from us, piecemeal, as the years went 
on. Ah ! how we should weep to meet them 
again, and handle their tattered shreds, and re- 
member how brave they once were ! After all, 
who knows but, in some yet undiscovered limbo 
of this wide universe, there may be a collection 
of this sort? — a rag fair of spiritual garments, 
niched from souls as they jostle through the 
crowded highways and byways of life. There is 
the white robe of baby innocence, unstained yet 
by thought or deed of wrong; the vesture of the 
child-heart, gay and gladsome, wrought like 
Joseph's coat of many colours — like Joseph's 
coat, too, torn often by some wild beast of the 
forest ; the blood-red robe of passion, the jewel - 
broidered garb of love, the winding-sheet wherein 
some dead hope was buried ; the shroud, stained 



st. olaye's. 263 

over with tears,, that wrapped a joy too bright to 
last. A grewsome array, truly; and ever the 
spoiler's hand filches fresh treasures and lays 
them there, until at last the years go on no 
more, and the whole company of Christ's faithful 
people find themselves robed for ever in the white 
raiment, clean and fine, which no spoiler's hand 
can touch; the brightness of whose purity no 
taint of sin shall find leave to mar. 

Thinking, perhaps, such thoughts as these, 
David Bruce did not hear footsteps in the room, 
nor did he know that any one was there, until 
two white trembling hands were laid upon his 
shoulder — 

" Brother Davie ! " 

He turned quickly round. There was no tumul- 
tuous greeting between them, no glowing outburst 
of delight. The past had held too much of sorrow 
for that. Just one close, loving hand-clasp, one 
long look of trusty friendship — so they met after 
that weary parting. 

David stirred the fire into a blaze; then 
putting off Janet's bonnet, and smoothing back 
the bands of her glossy black hair, he held her to 
him, and looked tenderly down into the pale face 



264 st. olave's. 

that was uplifted to his. A little paler, perhaps, 
than when he saw it last, but just as quiet ; telling 
no story of the deaths upon which it had gazed, 
nor the bitter conflict which had passed over the 
soul within. Years hence, lying in coffined rest, 
Janet Bruce's face could wear a smile no 
quieter. 

David was more changed. Two years of foreign 
travel had somewhat remoulded his garb and 
aspect. He had now the bold, upright, majestic 
port of a man accustomed to face the world and 
command its homage ; the port of a man who has 
made his own place, and stands in it as a king 
should stand. A curling beard and moustache hid 
the worn, sharp lines of the lower part of his face, 
and covered the mouth, which wore an expression 
somewhat bitter now, — bitterer than it used to 
be in those first years of disappointment and 
struggling. 

He drew the little low chair near to his, and 
then they sat down hand in hand, heart to heart, 
just as in the old long-ago time. 

" I did not think to find you gone, Jean ; 
you were aye content to sit by your ain ingle 
neuk." 



st. olave's. 265 

" I don't often leave it, Davie, but sometimes it's 
dree work sitting my lane at nights. I — I had 
gone to see Alice." 

Janet spoke this last sentence hesitatingly, 
looking np to her brother's face the while for 
some touch of grieving sadness. But she looked 
in vain. The lips only took a sterner bend, the 
light that gleamed out from the deep-set grey 
eyes grew colder. 

Janet was perplexed, disappointed. She had 
never found him wanting in tenderness before. 
She had thought, she had almost hoped, that his 
first question would be for Alice. So earnest was 
the sympathy of her unselfish heart, that she 
could have given up even her own blessed birth- 
right of sisterly ministration, so that this desolate, 
unprotected girl might find shelter in his faithful 
care. 

" Oh." he said by-and-by, " if you have been 
there, you are home early j it is a long ride, I 
suppose." And then, after a pause, in which he 
seemed to be tracking out some painful thought — 

" Janet, we have no one but each other now j 
no one but each other." 

He leaned his cheek down upon her hand, and 



206 st. olave's. 

there fell a long silence between them. Janet did 
not care to break it by any trifling inquiries 
about his journey, or what had befallen him during 
those dreary years of separation. That she 
was sitting by his side again, that she could hold 
his hand in hers, and look up into his face, was 
enough for her. 

That grand still face ; it had settled down now 
into the habitual melancholy of one for whom the 
best of life is passed ; it had the worn look which 
mental suffering or anxiety of any kind continually 
chiselling at the features, gives. Nevertheless 
David Bruce, take him altogether, was what the 
world calls a line-looking man, a very fine-looking 
man. And his was the handsomeness which 
would increase, not decline with coming years. 

w Janet," he said at last, in rather an abrupt, 
grating voice, " Janet, would you like to go away 
from St. Olave's ? " 

« How, brother Davie ? " 

" I mean, how would you like to go back into 
Scotland, quite away from here? You know 1 
am rich now, rich at least in money and position," 
and there was a harsh ring in his voice which 
Janet had never heard before. " I could buy back 



267 

the Court House at Perth, and you could live in 
the old home again, just at we used to do years 
and years ago. Then we would try to put away 
everything that has happened here ; just lay these 
two years of our lives to rest." 

" How would you like it, Davie ? " 

il I don't say anything about what I would like, 
I just ask you, will you go ? " 

Janet turned her face from him into the shadow. 
She was silent for a moment or two, not more. 
The thought of Alice, desolate and unfriended, 
came first into her heart. Whilst she lived, the 
child of him whom she had loved so truly, should 
never be left alone. But she did not tell her 
brother that. She gave him her answer calmly, 
without a quiver or a tremble in her voice. Once 
more lifting her face to his, she said : — 

" Brother Davie, two years ago I would 
have liked fine to go back to the old home, and 
the old friends. But now, wherever Douglas 
Ramsay's grave is, is home to me, and I'll even 
stay by it till I die." 



2C8 




CHAPTER XXIII. 

EXT morning David and Janet Bruce 
went together to the morning prayers. 
Janet took her usual place near what 
used to be Mistress Amiel Grey's stall, and David 
went into the organist's pew. A stranger occupied 
it now, but Mr. Brace's card was a passport where - 
ever its owner presented it. 

David's heart beat quickly as he ascended the 
stair, and passed into the little well-remembered 
sanctum. Verily St. Olave's was no place to wipe 
out old associations. The ruling spirit of conser- 
vatism kept everything in just the old track. 
Not a change had been made in the grey, dusty 
Cathedral since the last afternoon when Mr, 



st. olave's. 269 

Bruce officiated there, the afternoon when Lettice 
had come to summon him to Mistress Amiel 
Grey's bedside. As she told him Alice's message, 
he had unwittingly grasped one of the delicately 
carved oaken bosses of the canopy, and a leaf 
broke off in his hand. The gap was there still, 
broidered over now with a lacework of cobwebs, 
and the fragment of carving lay on the projecting 
capital of a pillar near by, untouched ; one might 
tell that by the dust which lay so thick upon it. 
There were the old prayer and chant -books, with 
their brown, worm-eaten leather binding sending 
out a musty, century-old smell into the little 
chamber ; and there was the rent in the crimson 
curtains through which Alice had peered down, 
that long ago morning, to watch Mrs. Edenall 
pace, in grave, queen-like majesty, up the broad 
choir aisle. 

Professor Bright wished his distinguished visitor 
to take the musical part of the service, but David 
declined, and promised instead, to play the con- 
cluding voluntary. Whilst the organist chose out 
the anthems, he leaned over the curtain and 
watched the people assemble. Not much change 
in them either. The almsfolk came first, accord- 



270 

ing to old regulations. Time had dealt gently 
with them, neither adding starch to Betsy DowhVs 
fiimping cap borders nor wrinkles to Mrs. Marris's 
smooth, well-kept face. Martin Speller limped 
up to his seat with just the same defiant sort of 
air ; and the smile on Ruth Cane's sightless face, 
as she uplifted it to the organ, had neither waned 
nor deepened. Then the Close families took their 
places in the cushioned stalls, those stiff old 
maiden ladies who seemed carved in oak, as brown 
and unyielding as the canopies beneath which 
they knelt to perform their devotions. By-and- 
by a rustle of stiff black silk made— not music 
exactly, but something slightly the reverse — out- 
side the choir. It was Mrs. Scrymgeour. No 
dresses spoke so noisily as hers of the ecclesias- 
tical dignity which they enfolded. 

With a sickening sort of suspense, David Bruce 
waited for her to appear at the choir entrance, 
which was just under the organ. She came in 
sight at last, accompanied by — 

No, that could not be her niece, Mrs. Cuthbert! 
The lady who followed in the wake of Mrs. 
Scrymgeour's dignity was a tall, proud, elegant- 
looking woman, in a scarlet cloak and velvet hat. 



st. olave's. 271 

A friend, perhaps, who was staying at Grassthorpe. 
There was no need for Alice to come to the Cathedral 
now to hear the music of her husband's voice, or, 
perhaps, even already it had lost its charm, and 
she cared no longer to listen to it as once she 
did. 

The service began. Cuthbert read it in magni- 
ficent style, making the choir ring with his 
melodious tones, now clear and resonant as a 
trumpet's silver sound, now tender as the wail of 
broken hearted penitence. Heaven forgive David 
Bruce if the words woke not much music in his 
soul; if, as he bowed his face upon his hands 
through those daintily chanted prayers, quite 
other thoughts than any which belonged to them 
swept over him. Yet who shall say that these 
thoughts were not prayers too ? 

The service was over. The Dean and Canon 
Hewlet, preceded by the choristers and surpliced 
clergy, filed slowly out beneath the richly-carved 
organ screen. Mr. Bruce took his place at the organ 
to play the people out. But they recognized the 
master hand, and would not be played out ; at any 
rate, not until the music ceased. He began the over- 
ureto "Jael." The vergers bustled about and clear- 



272 

ed the choir, for the Cathedral rules ordered that it 
should be locked within twenty minutes after the 
close of each service; but the people clustered 
round the organ stair and about the nave, listening 
in eager, speechless interest to the magician who 
poured over them such wondrous strains of 
harmony. 

Mr. Bruce was still playing, when there came a 
gentle knock at the door of the organ pew. 

" It's the young lady, sir, as copies for you," 
said the bellows-blower, reaching out from his 
recess, and opening the door. " Is she to come 
in ? » 

" No, I am engaged with this gentleman, and 
cannot see Miss Brandon now. She must come 
again in the afternoon." 

H Pray don't let me interfere with any engage- 
ments. Perhaps it may be inconvenient to the 
young person to call again. Has she come from 
far?" said David. 

" Only from Norlands, a matter of three miles 
or so, and I daresay she is a good walker. But 
if you don't object I'll see her and have done with 
it. Smith, tell the young person to come in." 

She came. David turned for a moment, and 



273 

saw that the visitor was a girl dressed in deep and 
somewhat rusty mourning. He resumed his 
playing, and gave no heed to the conversation 
which went on between them. 

" I have brought the music, Mr. Bright. Will 
it be convenient to pay me for it this morning ? It 
is two months now since I brought back the last 
chants." 

The voice was scarcely more than a whisper, so 
low that through the music David did not hear 
it. 

" I think you must call again. Fve only a 
sovereign in my purse, and I suppose you can't 
change it." 

" No, sir ; but if you like I will go out and 
bring some silver. It will not take me long." 

" Longer though than I care to wait. Excuse 
my interrupting you, Mr. Bruce, but could you 
accommodate us ? This young person seems anxious 
to be paid." 

Was it something in her attitude and bearing, 
or was it the single curl creeping out from the 
curtain of her crape bonnet, that reminded Mr • 
Bruce of Alice Grey ? He could not see her face 
for she had shrunk behind a stone pillar and was 

vol. in. T 



274 st. olave's. 

looking into the choir, bending far down over the 
curtain. He only noticed that her hand trembled 
very much as Professor Bright put the money 
into it. He turned to the organ again. 

" I am sorry to tell you, Miss Brandon/' said 
the organist, " that I shall not require your ser- 
vices any longer. One of the choristers offered 
only yesterday to undertake the copying in return 
for extra musical instruction. You have always 
managed it very well, but my salary obliges 
me to be economical, and there is at present 
no allowance for the transcribing of the church 
music. I need not detain you any longer, I be- 
lieve you will find the money I have given you 
quite right. Good morning, Miss Brandon. I 
shall be happy to recommend you in case you 
should apply for other employment of the same 
kind." 

There was just a low quick gasping breath. 
She turned towards the door, but her hand shook 
so that she could scarcely open it. 

" Allow me," said Mr. Bruce, coming forward. 
He was not much of a ladies' man in a general 
way, but he was always ready to give help when it 
was needed : and he remembered of old that the door 



st. olave's. 275 

of the organ pew had a private theory of its own 
about opening and shutting. Before he could 
reach it though, she had pulled it open with a 
desperate effort, and was away down the narrow 
little staircase. 

" Nice copying that, isn't it, for a woman ?" said 
Professor Bright, throwing the manuscript care- 
lessly upon the music desk as David finished his 
overture. " The young lady does it for a living. 
She has seen better days, and I suppose doesn't 
like the publicity of going out governessing." 

It was strangely like those manuscripts of 
Alice Grey's, which were treasured so carefully in 
David's portfolio ; the same clear round notes, the 
same finely-formed strokes and sharp Italian hand. 
He scanned it earnestly. 

" It is not often non-professionals copy so well 
as this, but perhaps the young lady teaches 
music." 

' ' No, I don't fancy she is equal to that. An 
old fellow who lives in the College Yard here, 
taught her ; and then she is dainty rather in 
everything she does. You would notice that from 
her dress. Poor girl, I'm sorry not to keep on 
employing her, but you see I must consider my 

t 2 



276 st. olave's. 

own pocket. The salary here is so very small." 

David could quite understand that ; he remem- 
bered the time when sixpence a sheet for music 
copying was more than he could afford to pay. 

" I don't know if you are aware of the facts/' 
continued Professor Bright, packing the music 
away along with the rest of the chants. "You 
have been absent from St. Olave's some time, have 
you not ? n 

"Not quite two years." 

" Ah, well, then the affair has taken place since 
you left. The young lady's name is Brandon, 
and she lives up at Norlands, in a little cottage 
that stands alone before you come to the village." 

" The house formerly occupied by Mistress 
Amiel Grey ?" 

" The same. You remember the old lady then ? 
I don't. I believe she died some time before 
I came to the organ, but I've heard a great deal 
about her — high family, courtly manners, all that 
sort of thing, I suppose, that people make so much 
of here. She had a niece, at least so it was 
supposed." 

" Yes, Miss Alice Grey. When I left St. 
Olave's, she was on the point of marriage to a 



st. olave's. 277 

clergyman. I presume she is now Mrs. Cuthbert 
Scrymgeour, of Grassthorpe Rectory." 

David Bruce forced himself to say this in a 
matter of fact, business like sort of way. 

The Professor laughed a little, short, good-tem- 
pered laugh. 

" Points are dangerous things, Mr. Bruce, and 
people slip off them sometimes. So did the young 
lady in question. The fact is, things turned out 
very awkwardly. She was found not to be a niece 
of Mrs. Grey's at all, but an illegitimate child of 
some person, a woman named Brandon, living in 
St. Olave's. I forget the name her mother went 
under, being, as I said before a stranger here. 
Of course, when the truth came out, she had no 
claim to the property, and the heir-at-law, a Cap- 
tain Clay, from abroad, took it all, every penny, 
but a little stipend which he allows herjusttokeep 
her from absolute starvation." 

David Bruce's control served him well. His 
voice changed not from its old steady tones as he 
remarked : — 

ff That was unfortunate, very. But the mar- 
riage." 

" Dropped through; blew over ; came to nothing. 



278 st. olave's. 

Painful thing for Mr. Scrymgeour, but of course 
he broke it off at once, as soon as ever the facts 
got out. You know it would never do for a man 
in his position to marry a — well a girl without 
ever a rag of respectability about her/'' 

David Bruce smiled. A quiet smile, very, just 
rippling up to the deep set grey eyes, and moisten- 
ing them with what might be tears, or possibly a 
twinkle of humour. Professor Bright thought it 
was the latter. 

"You're smiling. I daresay you imagine it 
was the money more than the respectability that 
made the gentleman take fright. Well, I won't 
say which it was. At all events his affections 
were not deeply blighted, for six months after, he 
married a young lady, the belle of the Close, 
Blanche Egerton, a splendid brunette, with 
the most magnificent eyes you ever saw, and such 
hair ! She came in with the Archdeacon's widow 
to the prayers this morning. You would see 
her, I daresay, in a scarlet cloak and black 
hat." 

" Yes, and Alice — I mean Miss Brandon?" 

" Lives up at Norlands, as I told you. Nobody 
takes any notice of her now, of course. Captain 



st. olave's. 279 

Clay lets her have the house for nothing, and she 
ekes out her allowance by working for the shops 
and copying music. Starving sort of thing, I 
should fancy " 

David turned abruptly to the organ. A few 
quick, passionate chords, full of fiery vehemence, 
and then that old Cathedral rang with such a peal 
of jubilant harmony, as had never before echoed 
through its long aisles of clustered columns. On 
and on he played, his whole soul pouring itself 
out upon the music. His face grew bright with 
the triumph shining through; his whole form 
seemed to heighten and dilate with a strange 
majesty. Hope, joy, tenderness, longing, all 
spoke out in that wondrous melody. It was 
David Brace's "Te Deum," the outburst of a 
prayer which no words could speak. 

Suddenly the music ceased. Without a word of 
farewell to the astonished Professor, Mr. Bruce 
took up his hat and gloves and hurried away. It 
had been whispered about in the city that the 
great composer had come back, and was now 
playing at the Cathedral, and hundreds of people 
were clustering round the organ, listening to the 
wondrous music, or waiting to catch a sight of 



280 st. olave's. 

the performer. But he pressed through them all, 
giving no glance of recognition to the smiles which 
were poured on him from many a fair face. 
Right onward he steered his way, until he reached 
the little door that led out from the west end 
into the Close. There Janet was waiting for 
him. 

He took her hand in his, and hurried her away 
out into the quiet Close, past the grim, aristo- 
cratic old houses, and shady little back terraces, 
never slackening his pace until they reached 
Westwood Lane, where not a footstep save their 
own was to he heard. 

" Janet," he began, and now the first gush of 
excitement spent, his voice was very feeble, his 
face deathly pale, " Janet, why did you not tell 
me of this ? Why did you keep it from me V 3 

" What, Davie V 3 she said, quietly. 

" About Alice," and Janet felt the hand 
that held hers tighten its grasp almost to pain. 

" I did write you all about it," she said, " and 
sent the letter to you to Leipsic." 

" How long back ? 33 

"This is January. I sent it a year ago last 
August." 



st. olave's. 281 

" That explains it. I left Leipsic early in August 
just after I had got the letter in which you said 
that she was to be married in a few days. 
Janet_, if you knew what the time since then has 
been." 

Janet knew somewhat of its hardness, from 
the lines it had graven on her brother's face. 

" Who has told you now, Davie ?" 

" She came into the organ pew whilst I was 
there. A poor little trembling thing. I don't 
know if she knew me again, but she did not speak 
to me, and I did not recognize her, for the 
organist called her Brandon. She had come to 
bring some copied music that he pays her to do, 
and the poor child sighed so wearily when he told 
her she was not to have any more. After she was 
gone he told me who she was, and that Cuthbert 
Scrymgeour had cast her off because she had 
neither name nor fortune to give him." 

" Did he tell you any more than this ?" 

" Only that instead of being Mistress Amiel 
Grey's niece, she was the daughter of a person 
named Brandon, and that she was left almost 
entirely dependent upon her own exertions. Tell 
me all about it, Janet." 



282 st. olave's. 

They had reached the cottage now. They 
went into the little parlour, and there sitting 
together hand in hand, they talked over all the 
past. Janet told him, in her plain matter of fact 
way, the story of Alice's birth and parentage, 
as she had had it partly from Alice's own lips, 
and partly from Mrs. Cromarty. 

' c Last time I wrote to you, David, I told you 
about Douglas Ramsay's death, and Mrs. Eden- 
all's, but no more than that. I knew you had 
much to weary you, and to have said it all could 
do you no good." 

David pressed his sister's band. She went 
on — 

" I was sitting by her the night they brought 
her home dead, and Mrs. Cromarty came into 
the room. She told me she had seen her before, 
that she had lived maid with her when she was 
a child, and that her real name was Brandon, 
Marian Brandon. When she was very young 
she eloped from her father's house with a stranger 
who professed to marry her." 

" Ha !" said D>avid, " and Alice is their child. 
Is it so ?" 

" Stay, brother, I have not told you all. This 



st. olave's. 283 

stranger wronged her very much. He took her 
into Germany, and there deserted her. She 
came home, a poor, miserable outcast, in time to 
see her father die ; then her child was born, and 
she became insane. This stranger, brother Davie, 
was Douglas Ramsay/' 

" Jeanie, my poor sister Jeanie \" and David 
Bruce drew the pale face down to his breast. 
Janet let it rest there for awhile ; then raised it 
and went on calmly as ever. 

" There were no witnesses to the marriage, and 
he destroyed the lines that she might have no 
claim upon him. Her father and mother were 
very wealthy people, and of good family, but after 
they died, her relatives quite disowned her. When 
she came out of the asylum, she was told that her 
child was dead, and not being able to remain in 
the neighbourhood where she was known, she went 
and lived in complete retirement in Cumberland. 
From there she came to us. Mrs. Amiel Grey 
knew the Brandon family, and offered to take the 
child on condition that its parents never claimed 
it. So Alice was sent to the Old Lodge, and the 
people of St. Olave's have always imagined that 
she was a niece of Mrs. Grey's." 



284 st. olave's. 

" And Mrs. Edenall never knew that Alice was 
her own daughter !" 

" Never. She always imagined that her child 
was dead. I did not know that she was a mother 
until the afternoon of Douglas Ramsay's funeral, 
when she told me something of her history. I 
don't think she mourned much for the loss of it ; 
she knew the stain of its birth could never be 
wiped out." 

" Tell me more about Alice \" 

David's voice sounded very differently now, from 
when he had spoken that name the night before. 
Janet went on mechanically with her story. 

' ' Only a week or two before the time fixed for the 
marriage, Alice was accidentally looking into an old 
cabinet in the drawing-room, and found a letter 
addressed to her by her aunt, to be read after Mrs. 
Grey's death. She opened it, and found that it 
contained her own history. Cuthbert Scrymgeour 
was sitting by her at the time she read it. The 
next day, Captain Clay proved his claim as heir- 
at-law j and, as soon as the legal conference was 
over, Cuthbert Scrymgeour sent back Alice's letters 
and broke off the engagement. Of course, the 
stain of Alice's parentage was made the excuse for 



st. olave's. 285 

this, and so Mr. Scrymgeour has kept his credit 
as a man of honour." 

' c And you, Jeanie ,what did you do ?" 

' ' Mrs. Cromarty told me of it next day, and I 
went to her. I found the house all in confusion. 
Alice was sitting in her own room ; she seemed to 
be in a stupor of grief, and there was no one to 
comfort her. So I brought her here, and kept her 
with me until Mrs. Cromarty had got the cottage 
at Norlands ready for her. Poor child, it was a 
sair grief to her at first, but I think the bitterness 
of it is passed now." 

"Did she love him with her whole heart, 
Jeanie ?" 

" I don't think it. He pleased her fancy, and 
just petted her from morning to night, but he was 
no stay for her to rest upon. It is licht love, 
Davie, that cannot hold true in the cauld blast. 
But I'm vexed for her now, the darling ; her life 
is so different to what it used to be. She labours 
all day at that music-copying, and in the gloam- 
ing, when it is too dark to write, she does crochet 
and fancy-work for the shops. Mrs. Cromarty 
gets a little washing or plain sewing, sometimes ; 
and that, with Alice's pittance from Captain Clay, 
is all they have to depend upon." 



286 st. olave's. 

David turned his face away. 

" Alice ! little Alice \" 

And in the deep, low-spoken tenderness of 
those words, Janet knew how surely ere long that 
poor friendless girl would find a quiet resting- 
place in her brother's heart. And Janet mur- 
mured not. She knew that, for him even as for 
herself, to love once was to love for ever. 



287 




CHAPTER XXIV. 

T would seem that no life is complete 
without the refining and purifying in- 
fluence of sorrow. Not through hope 
or joy, or even through busy working, but through 
suffering only, are we, like our Captain, to be 
made perfect. And so into Alice's life, dimming 
for awhile all its sunshine and freshness, this 
needful night of grief had come, to nourish with 
wholesome shadow the thoughts which over-much 
brightness might have withered and scorched. 

She worked on very patiently at her new duties. 
By-and-by her life of labour seemed more real 
than the long, pleasant child-rest which had gone 
before it. That came to be almost like a dream, 



288 

a peaceful, beautiful dream, only remembered now 
and then. 

She came home from the Cathedral that morn- 
ing, weary and dispirited. The pittance which, 
small though it was, had helped to keep the wolf 
from the door, was gone now. After leaving Pro- 
fessor Bright, she had gone to one and another of 
the organists of the different churches in St. 
Olave's, to ask if they could give her employment, 
but all had declined her services. She must turn 
to needlework again. Mrs. Cromarty had brought 
some home that morning, which had been given 
her as a great favour by one of the Close families. 
It was a set of cravats, fine cambric cravats for 
Canon Crumpet, who had just come into resi- 
dence. They were lying on the table now ; Alice 
had been stitching at one of them until her eye- 
balls ached and her weary fingers almost refused 
to guide the needle. If she could have laid the 
work down, and had a real good cry, it would have 
been such a relief. But she could not afford the 
luxury of tears now ; they made her eyes smart 
and her head ache, and then the stint of work 
which she set herself had to be left undone. 

At last, however, she had been forced to rest, 



289 

and now in the half twilight of that winter after- 
noon, she stood at the window, looking ont over 
the grey moorland. The sky was all one 
even leaden tint, save just a little bit over St. 
Olave's Cathedral, where the mist had broken away 
and a glimpse of clear blue sky looked through, 
hinting of sunshine somewhere. So often in our 
life track we stand closed round by gloom and 
mist, yet never so utterly dark but one little rift 
remains to which we may look and catch a ray of 
the sunshine of God's love. But Alice's eyes 
were blinded ; she could not see it now. 

She was changed, sadly changed. Poor child ! 
she had neither art nor pride to hide the wound 
which Cuthbert Scrymgeour's faithlessness had 
given her. She was not, she never would be, one 
of those grand heroic creatures who, sore wounded 
by a sudden sword-stroke in the battle, fight on 
bravely after it, bravely as ever ; never showing, 
by tear or sigh, how sharp the anguish is ; even 
fighting all the more desperately, and winning 
nobler victories, in the strength of suffering. 
Neither was she of that lofty sort who, having 
seen their soul palace swept utterly away, set 
themselves with patient fortitude to travel 

VOL. III. u 



290 

the rest of the way homeless, and beggared of all 
that earth can give ; content so only Heaven bring 
them rest. She was bnt a child, and as a child 
she suffered. 

David Bruce was back again, that was the 
thought which filled her mind now. Filled it, not 
with joy and comfort, not with the glad certainty 
of coming rest, but with a weary, sickening sort 
of disappointment. All that his return could do 
would be to close Westwood to her. She dare not 
go there now and meet his cold, unsympathizing 
face, or listen to the story of his triumphs, — 
triumphs which had made him forget her griefs. 
That chance encounter in the organ-pew had struck 
a great chill through her. She had so often pic- 
tured their meeting, the joy it would be to sit by 
him again, and look into those steady, trusty eyes. 
But this was before her trouble came. Now they 
had met — and how ? He had not even turned to 
look at her, or told her by a single word that he 
remembered the old friendliness. He was the 
distinguished stranger now, she the penniless little 
dependant, toiling hard for daily bread, and scarce 
able to win that. Ah ! was this not wanting any 
good thing? 



st. olave's. 291 

Those cravats must be clone. Mrs. Canon 
Crumpet had sent special orders that they were 
to be sent home, starched and got up, by 
the end of the week, and this was Thursday. 
But, no -j she must rest just a little longer. Her 
head ached very much ; her eyes were hot and 
tired. She leaned her arms on the broad window- 
seat and pressed her forehead against the glass 
for coolness. 

It was very sad to see her face j there was no 
anger, no bitterness in it, only a mute, question- 
ing look, like some gentle pet creature that has 
been grievously wounded, and lifts up its won- 
dering eyes, asking for pity. She would never 
be the same Alice again that she was before 
that heavy blow had come. The gay, glad-hearted, 
joyous look was gone; she had quite lost the airy, 
swaying grace that used to mark every step and 
gesture. She was no gleam of sunshine now, no 
strain of merry music ; rather she seemed like a 
bruised flower, ready with one more blast to fall 
to the ground and be swept away. Still, when 
the gleam of sunshine is faded, and the strain of 
music gone, we soon forget them j it is the poor 
broken flower that we tend so lovingly ; there is 



292 

hope of it that it may revive and bloom once 
more. 

She turned her head. David Bruce stood in 
the doorway. He had been watching her, unseen, 
for the last half hour. As she caught sight of 
him, her face brightened, and she made as if she 
would have sprung to meet him in the old trustful 
way. But, before that impulse had time to grow 
into action, she remembered the change that had 
come over them both, and drew back again — 
humbly, meekly, not even lifting her eyes as she 
placed a chair for him by the fire. 

David Bruce would have taken her to his heart 
there and then, and ended all her toil ; but some- 
thing in the staid quietness of her manner kept 
him back. She took up her work, and stood at a 
little distance from him. 

" It is very kind of you to come and see me," 
she said. "You see my life has changed very 
much, lately." 

There was a sort of dignity in her way, even 
the least touch of pride. David Bruce had not 
offered her his sympathy, she would not ask it 
now. 



st. olave's. 293 

" Alice, until this morning, I thought that you 
were the wife of Cuthbert Scrymgeour." 

She just lifted her face to his for one moment, then 
bent it, crimson with stifled emotion, over her work. 

u No, I am no wife for Mr. Scrymgeour now/' 

There was such broken-down hopelessness in 
the way she said this. She kept up bravely for 
a moment or two ; then the work fell from her 
fingers, and she buried her face in her hands, 
weeping silently. 

David Bruce looked at her as she stood there 
before him, leaning against the low mantel-piece, 
half turning away that he might not see her 
tears ; the young head that once used to wear its 
coronal of golden curls with such careless grace, 
bowed down in shame and weariness. 

"Alice!" 

She raised herself, and looked steadily through 
her tears into his face. Her eyes fell before all 
that they read in his. David Bruce' s apologies, 
explanations, all failed him; the old tenderness, 
held back so long by mistake and misunderstand- 
ing, overflowed his heart again. He held out his 
arms to her as she stood there, the poor little 
forsaken, friendless thing. 



294 

" Alice, you are very tired. Come to me and 
rest." 

And Alice went. 

If David Bruce loved her when wealth and 
plenty shrined her round, when the pride of rank 
and the iron barriers of social caste parted 
them, she was ten times dearer to him now when 
she crept, shorn of all these things, into his arms, 
bringing to him nothing but the whiteness of her 
womanhood, and even that soiled by the mother 
from whom she had received it. 

An hour later they sat there yet, her head 
bowed upon her hand, the tears still falling one by 
one over the fingers that clasped his so closely. 

But the little rift of blue sky had widened out ; 
and a single beam of sunlight pouring through it, 
rested on them both, for an earnest of the spring 
time that should come ere long. 



295 






jj-^Ti-n-mi-u 



CHAPTER XXV. 



HAT was January, and in April they 
were to be married. David was im- 
patient to get the little blossom, once so 
rudely nipped, back again into the keeping of his 
own loving heart. 

It was a different courtship, very, from the one 
that was even yet fresh in Alice's memory. No 
dainty compliments came sprinkling down upon 
her like sugared bon-bons, no pretty speeches or 
honeyed words of flattery, such as she had lived 
upon during that short spell of sunshine. But as 
time after time David Bruce came to the little 
cottage at Norlands, and she nestled into the shel- 
ter of his strong protecting tenderness, she felt 



296 

that one look from those steady, honest eyes, one 
word from that voice whose every tone was full of 
brave out-spoken truth, more than overbalanced 
all the caresses which Cuthbert, in his elegant 
chivalry, had offered. That was the froth and 
sparkle, this the clear wine of life. 

It was the night before the wedding. David 
had come on his last visit to Norlands, and the two 
sat together in the bow-window, that looked out 
into the pleasant old-fashioned garden, greening 
now in the freshness of early spring-time. Before 
he came, Alice had been opening and re-arranging 
the carved oak cabinet that used to belong to Mis- 
tress Amiel Grey. Captain Clay had allowed her to 
select one or two things from the Old Lodge furni- 
ture, and this had been brought to Norlands 
amongst them. She used it now to keep some of 
her own little treasures, relics of the old time; 
also it contained her mother's papers and the 
pocket-book which Mrs. Edenall had treasured 
through the lonely years of her worse than widow- 
hood. Alice had turned away from them to take 
her place by David's side, but the door of the 
cabinet was open still; and whilst his arm kept her 
near him he was playfully taking up one after ano- 



297 

ther of her little possessions, and making her tell 
him its story. 

His face paled somewhat at the sight of the 
familiar tartan on the cover of the old purse. He 
took it up. 

" May I open this, Alice V 

" Yes," she said, without lifting her face, which 
rested on his arm, " I don't think there is any- 
thing in it but a few old papers. The inside has 
been nearly all torn out." 

He opened it. There were three or four wheat 
ears in one of the compartments, brown and wi- 
thered now as if they had been kept for a long time. 
David knew them again. He remembered how, as 
he took them out of Alice's hair that long-ago 
night in the Norlands cornfields, she had asked 
for them, and he had given them into her hand. 
And as they came along home she had played 
with them, twisting the stalks into fanciful shapes. 
The marks were there still. 

"So the little girl remembered me then," he 
said, fastening the brown wheat ears once more 
into her hair. But though he said it lightly, 
there was a mist of tears in his eyes, and his lips 
trembled as he spoke the words. Those brown 



298 st. olave's. 

withered things told him what he longed so much 
to know, that the child had held him in her 
thoughts through all that long waiting time, and 
that the bond which bound them now was neither 
new nor strange. 

Alice turned, and her face flushed all over. 

" Oh, Mr. Bruce ! I did not know," and she 
stretched out her hand to snatch them from him. 
In doing so, the purse fell to the ground. David 
picked it up. The fall had loosened a spring in- 
side, and a little pocket opened in which was a 
scrap of paper all mildewed and discoloured. These 
words were scrawled untidily upon it, — 

" Douglas Bamsay and Marian Brandon, mar- 
ried at Errol, June 14, 18—." 

There was a long silence in the quiet little room. 
Alice felt herself drawn closer and closer — she 
knew not why — to David Brace's heart, and she 
felt his warm kisses falling fast upon her cheek 
and forehead. 

So then the wh'te little hand that lay in his, 
marred though it might be by trace of toil, was 
free from stain, and the blood that flowed through 
its blue veins was pure, untainted as his own. He 
should never need to blush now that his wife was 



st. olave's. 299 

not nobly born ; lie should never fear to place her 
side by side with the proudest in the land. He 
could not love her with a truer, tenderer love ; but 
it was grand to know that the world's scorn could 
not reach her now. 

It was a veiy quiet wedding. In the early sun- 
light of that April morning, while yet the dew lay 
upon the grass, and sparkled in the blue violet 
cups, Janet Bruce rode down to the cottage, and 
fetched Alice and Mrs. Cromarty to Westwood 
church. David was waiting for them there, just 
as quiet and grave as ever. There was no bridal 
pomp this time ; no sheen of satin nor flutter of 
orange blossoms; no peal of marriage bells, nor 
scattering of flowers along the path to the church. 
Canon Hewlet married them. The choral service 
was wanting, that pealed forth from the organ as 
Cuthbert Scrymgeour led his stately bride down 
the broad aisle of St. Olave's Cathedral ; but, as 
the good old clergyman pronounced his benedic- 
tion over David and Alice Bruce, a thrush, that 
had been swinging itself on the topmost branch 
of the elm tree by the east window, suddenly 
broke into a loud jubilant strain, grand as any 
wedding march need be. 



300 st. olave's. 

David took his wife home to Westwood. They 
made no bridal tour just then; that was deferred 
until summer, when they were to go for a long, 
long visit to the Highlands. Besides, after the 
hard striving of the past few months, home, with 
its peace and quietness, was all that either of them 
needed. 

Janet Brace's bridal gift to her new sister was a 
little gold bracelet, fastened with a clasp of Bruce 
tartan. Inside this clasp was a lock of Douglas 
Ramsay's golden hair, braided with one of Mrs. 
EdenalTs grey brown tresses; and round them 
both, graven in tiny letters, this line, — Alice 
knew its meaning now, — 

" They shall not want any good thing " 

Janet fastened it on Alice's w r rist the evening of 
their wedding day, and then slipped quietly out of 
the room, leaving husband and wife alone. Per- 
haps there might be a touch of bitterness in her 
heart as she closed the door upon their new-found 
joy, but if so it never reached her face. That kept 
all its old stillness. 

Great was the indignation of the Close families 
when they learned, just on the eve of the mar- 
riage, that David Bruce, their distinguished fellow- 



301 

citizen, was about to link his name and fame, and 
genius and position, with a penniless girl who had 
neither rank nor connections to recommend her; a 
girl, moreover, whose birth rendered her inadmis- 
sible into select society, and who until the last 
month had been earning her living by taking in 
plain needlework. Greater still, however, was 
their bewilderment when the marriage was thus 
announced in the " St. Olave's Chronicle" — 

(e On Wednesday, at the parish church of West- 
wood, by the Eev. Canon Hewlet, David Bruce, 
formerly of the Court House, Perth, to Alice, only 
child of the late Douglas Eamsay of Glen Ramsay, 
Perthshire, and Marian Brandon his wife." 

So Alice Grey was no base-born parvenu after 
all. What a mistake the goodly fellowship of the 
little Cathedral city had made. However there 
was no help for it. The Position Committee had 
to retract its verdict and subside into humiliating 
silence. Gladly, when the fancied stain had been 
wiped from her escutcheon, would the Close fami- 
lies have welcomed Mrs. David Bruce into 
their midst, or deluged her with cards and 
congratulations ; but the Westwood home needed 
no aristocratic patronage now to heighten its happi- 
ness or establish its respectability. 



302 st. olave's. 

The Ramsay estate was confined by entail to 
male heirs, so that the discovery of the legal 
marriage between its owner and Marian Brandon 
brought Alice no pecuniary benefit. Her father's 
broad acres had passed to a distant member of the 
family, and Mrs. EdenalFs interest in the Bran- 
don Manor ceased with her death, so that the 
home at Westwood did not, after all, overflow with 
wealth. Soon after his marriage, David Bruce 
rented Norlands from Captain Clay, and had the 
cottage furnished as a summer residence. Mrs. 
Cromarty contined to reside there as housekeeper, 
and little Miss Luckie lived to celebrate her 
ninetieth birthday beneath the shadows of its 
ancestral elm trees. 

Having brought David Bruce and Alice thus 
far on the journey of life, and seen them fairly 
started side by side on the matrimonial tramway, 
it would of course be the most natural thing in the 
world to leave them jogging comfortably along, 
giving the reader to suppose that they lived happily 
ever afterwards, as people in story-books always do 
when once the ring is on and the benediction said. 
Such, however, was not exactly the case. Some- 
one says that trust and patience are the keepers of 



st. olave's. 303 

home happiness, and patience implies trial of one 
kind or other. David and Alice, as they plodded 
on through life, found that it contained for them a 
fair share of the ills which flesh is heir to; not the 
least of which was the occasional jarring- which is 
at first inseparable from the blending and har- 
monizing of two diverse natures, educated under 
different conditions and of different mould. But 
David and Alice never lost their faith in each other; 
and always over -their human love, with its petty 
discords and imperfections, there brooded that 
other and diviner love, hallowing it, ennobling it, 
purifying it from the dross of earthly feeling. 

And so as years rolled on, there came down upon 
the little Westwood home the unfading light of 
heaven-given, heaven-sustained peace, even that 
peace which is made strong through patience and 
perfect through suffering. 



304 



CHAPTER XXYI. 




IFE creeps on quietly as ever through 
the musty old Cathedral city of St. 
Olave's. Still the quaint timbered 
houses uplift their tall gables, marred by the wind 
and storm of centuries ; and the sunshine, oozing 
lazily through the narrow streets, ripples over 
richly carved doorways and picks out the moulder- 
ing remains of by-gone grandeur which linger yet 
in back alleys and dingy court-yards. Still those 
stiff old saints and martyrs look down in grim 
dignity from the Cathedral front, and its grey 
towers loom swarthily as ever upon the clear blue 
summer sky or the dim cloud-land of winter. 
But Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour has long 



st. olave's. 305 

since ceased to give an eye to them. Chapter 
Court has passed into other hands. Without ask- 
ing her opinion on the agreeableness or otherwise 
of the proceeding, the great Reaper came and bound 
her up, with all her ecclesiastical dignities, in his 
sheaves. She sleeps in the south aisle of the 
Cathedral, side by side with her departed spouse, 
and a couple of fat little cherubs, with their fingers 
in their eyes, point to the mural tablet on which 
the archidiaconal virtues, male and female, are 
inscribed. 

Mrs. Scrymgeour's death, it is believed, was 
hastened by severe family afflictions. Not long 
after the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Cuthbert, old 
Squire Egerton brought home a young bride, 
blooming and beautiful, who in the course of three 
or four years surrounded his table with as many 
olive branches, all healthy and flourishing, and 
likely enough to perpetuate the Egerton name 
down to remote posterity. Of course the Grass- 
thorpe expectations fell to the ground, and the 
Archdeacon's widow never recovered the shock. 
Alice's sudden accession of social caste was an 
additional blow to her sensibilities; and within 

VOL. III. x 



306 st. olave's. 

twelvemonths after the marriages of Squire Egerton 
and David Bruce, she resigned her post as Lady 
President of the Position Committee, and was 
gathered to her ancestors. 

Martin Speller lies under the sod too. He died 
as he lived — most people do. First he lost his 
sight, then he became decrepit, then childish ; but 
still day by day he took his accustomed place 
amongst the almsfolk at the Cathedral prayers, 
and listened, with his old half-defiant, half-indif- 
ferent air, to the chanted music. He died one 
sunshiny August afternoon, just as the Close 
families were rustling, gilt Prayer-books in hand, 
to their places in the choir. When they knew his 
change was near, they sent for Mrs. Cromarty. 
She came and knelt by him, praying God to give 
her some word for him that might guide his soul 
through the dark valley. 

" Bell's puttin' in for prayers," he muttered, as 
the well-remembered sound came floating through 
the still air. " Nowt but prayers — i' this here 
place — Prayin' ain't no yield — ever I see'd " 

Then the silver cord was loosed, and Martin 
Speller's reckoning stands over to the great Here- 
after. 



st. olave's. 307 

The shadow of the Roman tower at Norlands, 
lengthening as the day declines, falls on two graves, 
not nameless now, bnt covered by a massive marble 
slab, bearing this inscription : — 

" To the Memory of Douglas Ramsay and his 
spouse, Marian Brandon, who were accidentally 
killed at this place." 

They are not forgotten. Often in the still 
summer evenings David Bruce and his wife go 
there, speaking in low reverent tones of those 
who lie beneath. And when they are gone, one 
who perhaps remembers the dead more faithfully 
than they in their fulness of happy love can do, 
keeps her silent watch over the sleepers. And it 
may be in that silent watch the strength comes 
down which bears her through the long weari- 
ness of life, and the hope which hallows all its 
toil. 

Poor Janet Bruce ! Peace, peace. It may be 
grand to place the sword point to our breast, and, 
weary of the battle's strife, rashly dare the death 
that lingers over-long. It is grander far to take 
that sword, and strong in the strength of the 
lonely, fainting never for any toil or hardship that 
it brings, to fight bravely, patiently on; until 



308 

leaving it buried hilt-deep in the heart of the 
latest enemy, we wait for the Captain's voice T 
to say — " Enough, come up higher." 



THE END. 



13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

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NEW PUBLICATIONS. 



THE LIFE OF EDWARD IRVING, Minister of 

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" Mrs. Oliphant's ' Life of Edward Irving ' supplies a long-felt desideratum. It is 
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LES MISERABLES. By VICTOR HUGO. THE 

AUTHORIZED COPYRIGHT ENGLISH TRANSLATION. 
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details anil suggestions contained in it"- Athenceum. 

"This is one of the most genuine books- probably the best woman's book of the 
year. It is full of living interest. It is Xh.-. genuine and simple utterance of ex- 
periences, inter* sting, touching, and useful to be known. It contains, besides the 
details of prison life, a series of sketches of prbon characteis, various ami eum-us, 
winch are vivid and interesting as the liveliest inventions of the novelist."— 
lixuminer 



13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

MESSRS. HURST AND BLACKETT'S 
NEW WORKS— Continued. 



GREECE AND THE GREEKS. Beiog the 

Narrative of a Winter Residence and Summer Travel in Greece 
and its Islands. By Fredrika Bremer. Translated by Mary 
Howitt. 2 vols., 21s. 
" The best book of travels which this charming authoress has given to the public" — 
Athenaeum. 

" Miss Bremer has many things to tell of the king, the queen, and the country, that 
have a special interest at the present time." — United Service Magazine. 

" Miss Bremer's work is full of the most vivid and picturesque descriptions of Greek 
life and scenery. It cannot fail to delight all into whose hands it may fall" — Sun. 

DRIFTWOOD, SEAWEED, AND FALLEN 

LEAVES. By the Rev. John Cumming, D.D., F.R.S.E, 
printed on toned Paper. 2 vols., 21s. 

MEMOIRS OF CHRISTINA, QUEEN OF 

SWEDEN. By Henry Woodhead. 2 vols, with Portrait, 21s. 

THIRTY YEARS' MUSICAL RECOLLEC- 
TIONS. By Henry F. Chorley. 2 vols., with Portraits, 21s. 

"Every page of these volumes offers pleasant reminiscences of some thirty 
years' experience. No one singer of merit, or pretension to it, no distinguished 
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THE LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE OF AD- 
MIRAL SIR CHARLES NAPIER, K.C.B. From his Private 
Papers and Official Documents. By Major-General Elers 
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is instructive to the professional reader." — Athenceum. 

FRENCH WOMEN OF LETTERS. By Julia 

Kavanagh, author of "Nathalie," "Adele," &c. 2 vols., 21s. 
" Miss Kavanagh's book is a very good one. It will obtain not only a popular success, 
but also a permanent place in the library. It covers ground new to most English readers 
Ten women — all very famous in their day — are taken as centres of literary history in 
successive periods ; and in the story of their lives, still more in the analysis given of 
their works, we have the several stages of French life truly reflected." — Examiner. 

TRAVELS IN THE HOLY LAND. By Fred- 

rika Bremer. Translated by Mary Howitt. 2 vols., 21s. 
" A good specimen of what travels should be — intelligent, unaffected, and giving exact 
impressions. " — A thenceum. 

THE OKAVANGO RIVER; A NARRATIVE OF 

TRAVEL, EXPLORATION, AND ADVENTURE. By 
Charles John Andersson, Author of "Lake Ngami." i 
vol., with Portrait and numerous Illustrations. 21s. bound. 
" Mr. Andersson's book, from the number of well-told adventures, its rich fund ol 

information, and spirited illustrations, will command a wide circle of readers. The 

Interest of his story never flags for a moment." — Athenceum. 

TRAVELS IN THE REGIONS OF THE 

AMOOR, and the Russian Acquisitions on the Confines of 
India and China. By T. W. Atkinson, F.G.S., F.R.G.S., 
Author of " Oriental and Western Siberia." Dedicated, by per- 
mission, to Her Majesty. Second Edition. Royal 8vo., with 
Map and 83 Illustrations. Elegantly bound. 



Wintstv tfie (Bftptcial Patronage of Pftrfttajtjgts* 



Published annually, in One Vol., royal 8vo, with the Arms beautifully 
engraved, handsomely bound, with gilt edges, price 31s. 6d. 

LODGE'S PEERAGE 

AND BARONETAGE, 

CORRECTED BY THE NOBILITY. 



THE THIRTY-SECOND EDITION FOR 1863 IS NOW READY. 



Lodge s Peerage and Baronetage is acknowledged to be the most 
complete, as well as the most elegant, work of the kind. As an esta- 
blished and authentic authority on all questions respecting the family 
histories, honours, and connections of the titled aristocracy, no work has 
ever stood so high. It is published under the especial patronage of Her 
Majesty, and is annually corrected throughout, from the personal com- 
munications of the Nobility. It is the only work of its class in which, the 
type being kept constantly standing, every correction is made in its proper 
place to the date of publication, an advantage which gives it supremacy 
over all its competitors. Independently of its full and authentic informa- 
tion respecting the existing Peers and Baronets of the realm, the most 
sedulous attention is given in its pages to the collateral branches ot the 
various noble families, and the names of many thousand individuals are 
introduced, which do not appear in other records of the titled classes. For 
its authority, correctness, and facility of arrangement, and the b^autv of 
its typography and binding, the work is justly entitled to the place it 
occupies on the tables of Her Majesty and the Nobility. 



LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL CONTENTS. 



Historical View of the Peerage. 
Parliamentary Roll of the House of Lords. 
English, Scotch, and Irish Peers, in their 

orders of Precedence. 
Alphabetical List of Peers of Great Britain 

and the United Kingdom, holding sup- - 

rior rank in the Scotch or Irish Peerage. 
Alphabetical List of Scotch and Irish Peers, 

ho'ding superior titles in the Peerage of 

Great Pr tain and the United Kingdom. 
A Collective List of Peers, in their order of 

Precedence. 
Table of Precedency among Men. 
Table of Precedency among Women. 
The Qneen and the Royal Family. 
Peers of the Blood Royal. 
The Peerage, alphabetically arranged. 
Families of such Extinct Peers as have left 

Widows or Issue. 
Alphabetical List of the Surnames of all the 

Peers. 



The Archbishops and BKhops of England, 
Ireland, and the Colonies. 

The Baronetage, alphabetically arranged. 

Alphabetical List of Surnames assumed by 
members of Noble Families. 

Alphabetical List of the Second Titles of 
Peers, usually borne by their Eldest 
Sons. 

Alphabetical Index to the Daughters ol 
Lukes, Marquises, and Earls, who, hav- 
ing married Commoners, retain the title 
of Lady before their own Chiistian and 
their Husbands' Surnames. 

Alphabetical Index to the Daughters of 
"Viscounts and Barons, who. having mar- 
ried Commoners, are styled Honourable 
Mrs.; and, in case of the husband being 
a Baronet or Knight, Honourable Lady. 

Mottoes alphabetically arranged and trans- 
lated. 



" Lodge's Peerage must supersede all other wrks of the kind, for two reason: first it is 
on a better plan ; and secondly, it is better executed We can safely pronounce it to be the 
readiest, the most UBeful, and exactest of modern works on the subject." — Spectator. 

" A work which corrects all errors of former works. It is a most usfui publication — Tv , s. 

" As perfect a Peerage as we are ever likely to see published." — Herald. 



NOW IN COURSE OF PUBLICATION. EACH WOEK COMPLETE IN A SINGLE VOLUME, 

illustrated by Millais, Holman Hunt, Leech, Bieket Foster, John Gilbert, 
Tenniel, Ac, elegantly printed and bound, price 5s., 

Jpumt anfr §kkffs Stokrb f ikarj 

OF CHEAP EDITIONS OF 
POPULAR MODERN WORKS. 

VOL I.— SAM SLICK'S NATURE & HUMAN NATURE. 

" The first volume of Messrs. Hurst and Blackett's Standard Library of Cheap Edi- 
tions of Popular Modern Works forms a very good beginning to what will doubtless be 
a very successful undertaking. 'Nature and Human Nature* is one of the best of Sam 
Slick's witty and humorous productions, and well entitled to the large circulation which 
it cannot fail to attain in its present convenient and cheap shape. The volume com- 
bines with the great recommendations of a clear bold type and good paper, the lesser, 
but still attractive merits, of being well illustrated and elegantly bound." — Post. 

VOL. II.— JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN. 

" This is a very good and a very interesting work. It is designed to trace the career 
from boyhood to age of a perfect man — a Christian gentleman, and it abounds in inci- 
dent both well and highly wrought. Throughout it is conceived in a high spirit, and 
written with great ability. This cheap and handsome new edition is worthy to pass 
freely from hand to hand, as a gift-book in many households." — Examiner. 

VOL. III.— THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS. 

BY ELIOT WARBURTON. 

"Independent of its value as an original narrative, and its useful and interesting 
information, this work is i emarkable fur its reverent and serious spirit."— Quarterly 
Review. 

VOL. IV.— NATHALIE. BY JULIA KAVANAGH. 

" ' Nathalie ' is Miss Kavanagh's best imaginative effort. Its manner is gracious and 
attractive. Its matter is good." — Athenaeum. 

VOL. V.— A WOMAN'S THOUGHTS ABOUT WOMEN. 

BY THE AUTHOR OF " JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN." 

" A book of sound counsel. It is one of the most sensible works of its kind, well 
written, true-hearted, and altogethei practical." — Examiner. 

VOL. VI.-ADAM GRAEME OF MOSSGRAY. 

BY THE AUTHOR OF " MARGARET MAITLAND." 
" 'Adam Graeme' is a story awakening genuine emotions of interest and delight by 
its admirable pictures of Scottish life and scenery."— Post. 

VOL. VII.-SAM SLICK'S WISE SAWS 
AND MODERN INSTANCES. 

"The best of all Judge Haliburton's admirable works. It is one of the pleasantest 
books we ever read, and we earnestly recommend it." — Standard. 

VOL VIII.— CARDINAL WISEMAN'S POPES. 

"A picturesque book on Rome and its ecclesiastical sovereigns." — Athenosum, 

VOL. IX— A LIFE FOR A LIFE. 

BY THE AUTHOR OF "JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN." 

" In ' A Life for aLife ' the author is fortunate in a good subject, and she has produced 
a work of strong effect." — Athenceum. 

VOL. X.— THE OLD COURT SUBURB. BY LEIGH HUNT. 

"A delightful book; that will be welcome to all readers, and most welcome to 
those who have a love for the best kinds of reading." — Examiner. 

VOL. XI.— MARGARET AND HER BRIDESMAIDS. 

" We recommend all who are in search of a fascinating story to read this work for 
themselves. They will find it well worth their while."— Athenceum, 



parst anh glacltttfs Stanbarb f flrrarg 

(CONTINUED). 



VOL. Xn.— THE OLD JUDGE. BY SAM SLICK. 

" This work is redolent, of the hearty fun and strong sense of our old friend 
'Sam Slick.' Every p;ige is alive with fresh sketches of character, droll, quaint, racy 
sayings, good-humoured practical jokes, and capitally told anecdotes." — Chronicle. 

VOL. XIII.— DARIEN. BY ELIOT WARBURTON. 

"This last production, from the pen of the author of 'The Crescent and the Cross,' 
has the same elements of a verv wide popularity. It will please its thousands." — Globe. 

VOL. XIV.— FAMILY ROMANCE ; OR, DOMESTIC 
ANNALS OF THE ARISTOCRACY. 

BY SIR BERNARD BURKE. 

"It were impossible to praise too highly as a work of amusement this most interest- 
ing hook, It ought to be found on every drawing-room table." — Standard. 

VOL. XV.— THE LAIRD OF NORLAW. 

BY THE AUTHOR OF " MRS. MARGARET MAITLAND." 
" Scottish life and character are here delineated with true artistic skill." — Herald. 

\ VOL. XVI.— THE ENGLISHWOMAN IN ITALY. 

"Mrs. Gretton's work is interesting, and full of instruction." — The Times. 

VOL. XVIL— NOTHING NEW. 

BY THE AUTHOR OP " JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN." 

" "We cordially commend this book. The same graphic power, deep patbos, health- 
ful sentiment, and masterly execution, which place that beautiful work 'John 
Halifax,' among the English classics, are everywhere displayed." — Chronicle. 

VOL. XVIIL— THE LIFE OF JEANNE D'ALBRET, 

"Nothing can be more interesting than Miss Freer's story of the life of Jeanne 
d'Albret, and the narrative is as trustworthy as it is attractive." — Post. 

VOL. XIX.— THE VALLEY OF A HUNDRED FIRES. 

BY THE AUTHOR OF " MARGARET AND HER BRIDESMAIDS." 

" If asked to classify this work, we should give it a place between 'John Halifax,' 
and ' The Caxtons.' " — Herald. 

VOL. XX.- THE ROMANCE OF THE FORUM. 

BY PETER BURKE, SERJEANT AT LAW. 

"A work of singular interest, which can never fail to charm. The present cheap 
and elegant edition includes the true story of the Colleen Bawn." — Illustrated News. 

VOL. XXL— ADELE. BY JULIA KAVANAGH. 

" Adele is the best work we have had by Miss Kavanagh; it is a charming story. 
The interest kindled in the first chapter burns brightly to the close."— Athenceum. 

VOL. XXII. STUDIES FROM LIFE. 

BY THE AUTHOR OF " JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN." 
"These ' Studies from Life ' are remarkable for graphic power and observation. The 
book will not diminish the reputation of the accomplished author." — Saturday Rent"-. 

VOL. XXIII. —GRANDMOTHER'S MONEY. 

" A good novel. The most interesting of the author's productions."— Athenaum. 

VOL. XXIV— A BOOK ABOUT DOCTORS. 

BY J. C. JEAFFRESON, ESQ. 
" A delightful book."— Athenaeum. ' A book to be read and re-read ; fit for the study 
as well as tht drawing-room table and the circulating library."— Lancet. 

VOL. XXV.— NO CHURCH. 

"We advise all who have the opportunity to read this book. It is well worth tie 
«tu<1y."— Athenceum 



THE NEW AND POPULAR NOVELS, 

PUBLISHED BY HURST & BLACKETT. 



MISTRESS AND MAID. By the Author of 

"John Halifax, Gentleman." 2 vols. 

" All lovers of a good novel will hail with delight another of Miss Mulock's charming 
fictions. In 'Mistress and Maid,' the characters, like all Miss Mulock's, are ably 
sketched and wel I supported. The gentle elder sister, so resigned for herself, so careful 
for the sister child she has nurtured with all a mother's loving care ; the fretful beauty 
whose ill-temper is the cankerworm of the little household ; the energetic, strong- 
hearted, loving, and loveable Hilary, the breadwinner of the family; and the good angel 
of the house, the serving maid of the sisters, Elizabeth Hand, are so naturally and 
vividly portrayed, that they seem like old acquaintances. — John Bull. 

" Never has the truth of that noble aphorism, ' one touch of nature makes the whole 
world kin,' been more forcibly verified than in this very charming story." — Messenger. 

A PRODIGAL SON. By Dutton Cook, Author 

of "Paul Foster's Daughter." 3 vols. 
" ' A Prodigal Son ' will find many admirers among readers of works of fiction. 
There are new characters in the book, and the plot is good."— Post. 

DAVID ELGINBROD. By George MacDonald, 

M.A. Auihorof "Within and Without," " Phantastes,"&c. 3 vols. 

A POINT OF HONOUR. By the Author of " The 

Morals of May Fair," &c. 2 vols. 

SLAVES OF THE RING; or, Before and After. 

By the Author of " Grandmother's Money," &c. 3 vols. 
" A very good story. The reader cannot but feel interested in the loves, the joys, and 
sorrows of ' The Slaves of the Ring.' It is no small praise to say that the present tale 
possesses in almost every respect the good qualities of the author's previous works." — 
Observer. " These volumes well sustain the author's reputation." — John Bull. 

THE MAROON. By Captain Mayne Reid, Author 

of " The Rifle Rangers," &c. 3 vols. 
" Capt. Reid has the advantage of being able to add what may be called personal 
experience to a more than ordinary happy power of description, ' The Maroon ' will 
rank among Capt. Mayne Reid's most popular books." — Athenaeum, 

THE LADIES OF LOVEL- LEIGH. By the 

Author of " Margaret and her Bridesmaids," &c. 3 vols. 
" The author of this interesting tale lias not now for the first time proved to tlie 
world her extraordinary power in delineating the affections. The lesson is one of 
impressive force." —Daily News, " A vtry pleasant novel."— Press. 

MARION LESLIE. By the Rev. P. Beaton. 3 vols. 

" This story is a very good one, and is told with great power. The descriptions of 
Scottish life are drawn with a very graphic pen." — John Bull. 

JOHN ARNOLD. By the Author of "Mathew 

Paxton." 3 vols. 

OWEN: A WAIF. By the Author of "High 

Church " and " No Church." 3 vols. 
'•There is a generous heart speaking with power through the tale of ' Owen,' and the 
characters are sketched with genuine humour." — Examiner. 

CAN WRONG BE RIGHT? By Mrs. S. C. Hall. 

'•This excellent and interesting story is the best Mrs. Hall has written." — Athenaeum. 

THE LAST OF THE MORTIMERS. By the 

Author of " Margaret Maitland," &c. 3 vols. 
'•A charming book— simple, quaint, and fresh. — Athenozum.